Peter O'Toole (AP)
Peter O'Toole, shown as a young man in this undated photo. was nominated eight times for an Academy Award. Photo by AP
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Reuters
Peter O'Toole displays cement-covered hands after placing his prints in cement during hand and footprint ceremonies honoring him at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood (2011). Photo by Reuters

Actor Peter O'Toole, who shot to international fame in the blockbuster movie "Lawrence of Arabia", has died aged 81 in London after a long illness, his agent said on Sunday.

O'Toole, who had survived a bout of stomach cancer in the 1970s, died in a London hospital on Saturday, Steve Kenis, his agent, told Reuters.

The blue-eyed O'Toole's striking good looks and charm sustained him through a stage and film career of more than 50 years that swung wildly between triumph and disaster.

The son of an Irishman, O'Toole grew up in England. Years of heavy drinking and chain-smoking took their toll on his health.

"Peter O'Toole's family announced today that very sadly Peter died yesterday, peacefully in hospital. He had been ill for some time," Kenis said in a statement.

Kate O'Toole, his daughter, thanked the public for what she described as an outpouring of love and affection for the late actor.

She asked for her family to be allowed to grieve in private, saying in the same statement it would organize a memorial service "filled with song and good cheer" in due course.