Remembering Fort Worth native Bill Paxton

Bill Paxton, an actor who developed a following for films that achieved both mainstream and cult success starting in the 1980s, died today at the age of 61.

LOS ANGELES -- A family representative says prolific and charismatic actor Bill Paxton, who played an astronaut in "Apollo 13" and a treasure hunter in "Titanic," has died from complications due to surgery. He was 61.

The family representative issued a statement Sunday on the death. TMZ is reporting Paxton underwent heart surgery and had complications post-op and suffered a fatal stroke.

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Paxton, a Texas native of Fort Worth, got his start in films in the art department on Roger Corman movies in the '70s before getting a chance to go in front of the camera.

He quickly became a favorite of director James Cameron through the '80s and '90s, appearing in films such as "The Terminator," ''Aliens" and "Titanic."

The statement says "Bill's passion for the arts was felt by all who knew him and his warmth and tireless energy were undeniable." The family requested privacy at this time.

Paxton attended Aledo High School, then finished his remaining years at Arlington Heights High School in Fort Worth. A drama teacher named Rosemary Burton served as a major influence and inspiration for Paxton.

Paxton also narrated National Geographic's documentary on "JFK: The Final Hours." Paxton was seen in a historical photograph of him as a child raised above the crowd before President John F. Kennedy emerged from Hotel Texas on November 22, 1963.

Storm chasers across the plains are using the GPS spotter locations to pay tribute to Bill Paxton.