LOS ANGELES-Jodie Foster and Sir Anthony Hopkins have paid tribute to the late Jonathan Demme, who directed them in Oscar-winning film The Silence of the Lambs.

Foster said his death had left her “heartbroken”, while Sir Anthony remembered him as “one of the best”.

Actress Meryl Streep called his death “a big loss to the caring world”, while Talking Heads’ David Byrne said he had been “hugely inspirational”.

Demme died on Wednesday, aged 73, from complications from oesophageal cancer. He won an Academy Award for directing The Silence of the Lambs, which also won Oscars for best picture, best screenplay and for Foster and Hopkins’ performances.

Foster, who played FBI trainee Clarice Starling in the 1991 thriller, remembered Demme as “a friend, a mentor, a guy so singular and dynamic you’d have to design a hurricane to contain him.

“Jonathan was as quirky as his comedies and as deep as his dramas. He was pure energy, the unstoppable cheerleader for anyone creative.

“Just as passionate about music as he was about art, he was and will always be a champion of the soul,” the actress and director continued.

“JD, most beloved, something wild, brother of love, director of the lambs. Love that guy. Love him so much.”

“I am really shocked and very sad to hear about Jonathan’s passing,” said Sir Anthony Hopkins in his own tribute to the film-maker.

“He was one of the best, and a really nice guy as well who had such a great spirit. Every day being with him was a high five.” In her tribute, Streep described Demme as “a big-hearted, big tent, compassionate man - in full embrace in his life of people in need - and of the potential of art, music, poetry and film to fill that need.”

The three-time Oscar winner worked with the director on his 2004 remake of The Manchurian Candidate and in 2015’s Ricki and the Flash.

In a lengthy tribute on his website, Byrne said Demme’s films had been “filled with so much passion and love” and that his world view had been “open, warm, animated and energetic”.

“He was directing TV episodes even this year, when he was in remission,” the singer and musician revealed.

The Talking Heads frontman worked with the director on concert film Stop Making Sense and also wrote music for his films Something Wild and Married to the Mob.

Further tributes have been paid by Reese Witherspoon, who remembered Demme as “a great film-maker and a lovely man”, and Anne Hathaway, who called him her “favourite rebel angel”.

Tim Robbins remembered him as “a lovely man, a great director and a kind soul”, while Robbins’ former partner Susan Sarandon said she was “devastated”.

“Words just aren’t enough with heartache like this,” wrote pop star Justin Timberlake, who worked with Demme on a concert film last year.

“The time I spent with you away from a camera and a stage made a better human out of me. You are truly irreplaceable.”

Demme’s publicist, Leslee Dart, confirmed on Wednesday that the director died on Wednesday morning in his Manhattan apartment.

A private family funeral will be held for the director, who is survived by his wife, Joanne Howard, and his children Ramona, Brooklyn and Jos.