Tom Cruise praised Tony Scott as a "creative visionary" as he added his voice to the tributes paid to the director, who jumped to his death from a bridge in Los Angeles.
The 68-year-old, originally from North Shields, was best known for action-packed Hollywood blockbusters such as Top Gun and Days Of Thunder, which both starred Cruise.
Scott, younger brother of film-maker Ridley Scott, leapt from the Vincent Thomas Bridge in LA and his death is being treated as suicide.
Denzel Washington, frequently the leading man in his films including Crimson Tide and The Taking Of Pelham 123, said: "Tony Scott was a great director, a genuine friend and it is unfathomable to think that he is now gone.
"He had a tremendous passion for life and for the art of film-making and was able to share this passion with all of us through his cinematic brilliance," he added.
Cruise, who became a major name after being cast in the lead for Top Gun, said he "will really miss him".
"He was a creative visionary whose mark on film is immeasurable. My deepest sorrow and thoughts are with his family at this time."
There had been reports that Scott was suffering from inoperable brain cancer, but the Los Angeles Coroner's office has said his family were not aware of any such illness.
A dive team pulled Scott's body from the water several hours after members of the public alerted emergency services, having seen him jump from the bridge.
A suicide note is said to have been found at his office and he had left contact details in his black Toyota Prius parked close to the scene.
He was behind numerous slick action movies and worked with some of the biggest names in the film world, including John Travolta and Gene Hackman.
Scott, who lived in Beverly Hills, was married to actress Donna Scott, his third wife with whom he had twin sons.
He ran Scott Free Productions with his brother and the pair were working on a film called Killing Lincoln.
British actress Keira Knightley, who worked with Scott on his 2005 film Domino, in which she starred as a bounty hunter, said: "Tony Scott was one of the most extraordinary, imaginative men I ever worked with.
"It was a privilege to have spent the time I did with him. He was a firecracker and one of the world's true originals."
His other films included box-office hits such as True Romance, Crimson Tide, Enemy Of The State and Man On Fire.
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