Richard Hatch, who won legions of fans for his portrayal of Captain Apollo on the original 1970s Battlestar Galactica sci-fi TV series, passed away earlier today at the age of 71. The late actor had been suffering from pancreatic cancer, and had been placed into hospice care just a few weeks ago. We have a number of Twitter tributes that have surfaced this afternoon as word of this sci-fi legend's death began to spread.

Numerous reports emerged earlier today about Hatch's death, with TMZ confirming through family sources that the actor had died. Filmmaker Alec Peters, who directed Richard Hatch in the 2014 Star Trek fan film Prelude to Axanar, also confirmed Hatch had died, news that comes just weeks after Richard was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Here's what Peters had to say about the late actor's death in a statement on Axanar Productions' Facebook.

"It is with great sadness that I report to all Axanar fans that Richard Hatch has passed away. 3 weeks ago I found out he had stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer. We knew he had little time left, but this is quite more sudden than we thought. Richard was in good spirits when I visited him 2 weeks ago. He knew his time was short, but was comforted by the fact that his son would be taken care of. Richard was a dear friend and a staunch supporter of Axanar. Kharn was literally one of his favorite roles from his 50+ year acting career. We will all miss him a great deal."

Richard Hatch was born May 21, 1945 in Santa Monica, California, where he started practicing the piano at the young age of eight. By the time he was a teenager, he knew he wanted to become a performer. He attended Harbor College in San Pedro, California before joining a repertory company in 1967, which brought him to New York City. His first TV role was in All My Children with a guest-starring role on the soap opera in 1971, which lead to a bunch of guest-starring spots in shows such as Alias Smith and Jones, Young Dr. Kildare, Kung Fu, Barnaby Jones and Hawaii Five-O before his first major role as Inspector Dan Robbins in the final season of The Streets of San Francisco from 1976 to 1977. The next year, he landed the role that would change his career forever, Captain Apollo on Battlestar Galactica.

Although Battlestar Galactica only aired for one season, between 1978 and 1979, the show gained a huge cult following. 20 years later, Richard Hatch returned to write and direct the fan film Battlestar Galactica: The Second Coming, where he returned as Captain Apollo and brought back all of the surviving cast members from the original show. When the series was rebooted by Ronald D. Moore in 2003, Richard Hatch became the only actor to star in both shows. His portrayal of Tom Zarek on the rebooted series won him a new legion of fans, appearing in 22 episodes throughout the show's four-season run. The beloved actor is survived by his son Paul Hatch. Take a look at the tributes that started coming in on Twitter after news of Richard Hatch's death spread online.

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