Published Sunday, 15 December 2013
Mr O'Toole achieved stardom in Lawrence Of Arabia. (© PA)
He passed away at the Wellington hospital in London on Saturday, following a long illness.
Mr O'Toole, who was best known for his role in the 1962 Oscar-winning epic Lawrence Of Arabia, received an honorary Academy Award in 2003 for his career's work.
His agent Steve Kenis said: "He was one of a kind in the very best sense and a giant in his field."
Mr O'Toole was an eight-time Oscar nominee for 1964's Becket, 1968's The Lion In Winter, 1969's Goodbye, Mr Chips, 1972's The Ruling Class, 1980's The Stunt Man and 1982's My Favourite Year - however he never received the top award.
He was unsurpassed for the grace he brought to every performance on and off the stage
Michael D Higgins
The veteran actor, who said he was born in Connemara but was brought up in Leeds, retired from the spotlight last year, saying it was time to "chuck in the sponge".
His actress daughter, Kate O'Toole, said:"His family are very appreciative and completely overwhelmed by the outpouring of real love and affection being expressed towards him, and to us, during this unhappy time. Thank you all, from the bottom of our hearts."
Tributes have been lead by the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins.
He said: "Ireland and the world has lost one of the giants of film and theatre. In a long list of leading roles on stage and in film, Peter brought an extraordinary standard to bear as an actor."
Meanwhile Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted that his thoughts are with the O'Toole family, adding: "His performance in my favourite film, Lawrence of Arabia, was stunning."
Stars from the world of showbiz have also paid their respects.
Comedian Stephen Fry wrote on Twitter: "Oh what terrible news. Farewell Peter O'Toole. I had the honour of directing him in a scene. Monster, scholar, lover of life, genius."
Comedian David Walliams said: "He was hugely entertaining. The greatest company. A legend on screen and off."
American director Paul Feig, of Bridesmaids fame, wrote: "Just heard that Peter O'Toole has died. RIP, sir. You were a hilarious, talented, wild and exciting class act. We need more like him."
British broadcaster Piers Morgan remembered spending a day at the cricket with him.
He tweeted: "RIP Peter O'Toole. Spent one of the funniest days of my life with him at Lord's a few years ago. A brilliant actor & crazy, hilarious man."
Irish actor Jason O'Mara described O'Toole as "an acting legend and a hell raiser". He added: "His last act of defiance was living to see 81, but the work will live on forever. RIP Peter O'Toole."
© UTV News