He appeared in dozens of movies and television shows and seemed to be around when history was made both on and off screen. As a boy, he was in the crowd that welcomed President John F. Kennedy in Texas on the morning of Nov. 22, 1963, hours before Kennedy was killed in Dallas.
As a young man, he worked in the art department for "B'' movie king Roger Corman, who helped launch the careers of numerous actors and filmmakers.
"Bill Paxton was a big-hearted, thoughtful and honorable person," his "Big Love" co-star Chloe Sevigny said in a statement. "He always had a smile on his face and could entertain any room with his wonderful stories of his many incredible years in Hollywood."
Most recently, Paxton had taken on the leading role in "Training Day," a CBS crime show that re-imagined the 2001 neo-noir film directed by Antoine Fuqua.
He was also in some high-profile films of late, including "Million Dollar Arm," "Nightcrawler" and "Edge of Tomorrow."
His final film "The Circle," slated for release on April 28, is based on the novel by Dave Eggers. It stars Paxton alongside Emma Watson and Tom Hanks.
According to the family, Paxton died due complications from surgery. No further details were given.