British film director Tony Scott has died after jumping from a bridge in Los Angeles, US authorities said.

The 68-year-old, originally from North Shields, was best known for Hollywood blockbusters Top Gun, Days Of Thunder and Beverley Hills Cop II. He was the younger brother of film-maker Ridley Scott.

"I can confirm that Tony Scott has passed away. The family asks that their privacy is respected at this time," Scott's spokesman, Simon Halls, said in a statement. Scott was married to actress Donna Scott and the pair have twin sons.

The director apparently leapt from the Vincent Thomas Bridge spanning San Pedro and Terminal Island in Los Angeles. Lieutenant Joe Bale of the Los Angeles County Coroner's office said his death was being treated as a suicide.

A US Coast Guard spokeswoman told a local newspaper a note was found inside Scott's car, which was found parked on an eastbound lane of the bridge.The Los Angeles Times said that note listed contact information and a suicide note was later found at his office.

Film director Duncan Jones, who directed Moon and Source Code, wrote on Twitter: "Just heard about Tony Scott news. Horrible... Tony was a truly lovely man who took me under his wing & ignited my passion to make films."

He added: "Awww Tony. Wish you had felt there was a way to keep going. What a sad waste. My thoughts go out to his wife and beautiful children." In another tweet director Ron Howard said: "No more Tony Scott movies. Tragic day."

Other prominent names in the film industry took to Twitter to express their sadness, with actor Elijah Wood saying: "Awful news about Tony Scott. rest in peace."

Stephen Fry tweeted: "Deeply saddened to hear the news about Tony Scott. A fine film-maker and the most charming, modest man." Actor Nick Frost wrote: "Terribly sad news about Tony Scott. Rest in peace."

Film critic James King told Sky News: "Go buy his films, watch his films, and you'll see an incredibly confident director, so for that person to have taken their own life just seems utterly bizarre. I think he'll be remembered as one of the ultimate action directors. He wasn't ashamed by that."