Oscar-winning Czech film director Jiri Menzel has died at the age of 82 following a long battle with serious health problems.

Menzel’s wife, Olga, shared the news of the veteran filmmaker’s demise on Facebook late Sunday.

“Our dear Jiri, the bravest of the brave. Your body left our mundane world in our arms last night,” Olga wrote.

“Dearest Jirka, I thank you for each and single day I could spend with you. Each was extraordinary. I am also grateful to you for the last three years, as hard as they were,” she added.

Born on 23 February 1938, Menzel studied film direction in Prague and graduated to become one of the leading figures of the Czechoslovak New Wave of cinema, alongside another Oscar winner, Milos Forman in the 1960s.

In 1967, Menzel won the best foreign language film Academy Award for his first directorial venture, a Nazi occupation story Closely Watched Trains.

The film was based on a novel by Czech writer Bohumil Hrabal and following the Oscar win, Menzel went on to adapt the novelist’s other books — Cutting it Short and Larks on a String.
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