Reports have confirmed legendary Greek actor Kostas Voutsas has passed away at the age of 88, after a long battle with lung disease.
The much-loved performer was on life support over the last month at Athens' Attikon Hospital, and he died at 4:20 am today, February 26, with his family by his side.
Actor Dimitris Makalias posted a message on his social media pages announcing the passing of his mentor: "You always wanted to make people laugh and that is how you will be remembered. With both tears and a smile."
Voutsas was born in Athens in 1931 and moved to Thessaloniki in 1932. He studied at the Drama School of the Macedonian Conservatory of Thessaloniki and made his stage and screen debut in 1953. In 1961 Voutsas' breakthrough came when the Greek film director Giannis Dalianidis offered him a leading role in his phenomenally successful youth melodrama O Katiforos.
He soon became one of the best and most popular comic actors of his generation and created personal groups, starring in many Greek comedies by top playwrights and classics such as Aristophanes' The Wasps (as Philokleon) and Molière's Le bourgeois gentilhomme.
He has always been more committed to being a theatrical actor and in an interview with the Athens daily newspaper To Vima, he said: "Playing in movies has helped me a lot, but I was always committed to the theatre and that was my highlight."
His phenomenal acting technique is now being studied at the University of Patras and he has received many lifetime achievement awards and accolades.
Voutsas is survived by his wife Aliki Katsavou, and his four children, Sandra, Nikoleta, Theodora and Fivos.