Tom Cruise praised Tony Scott as a "creative visionary" as he added his voice to the tributes paid to the director, who jumped to his death from a bridge in Los Angeles.

The 68-year-old, originally from North Shields, was best known for action-packed Hollywood blockbusters including Days Of Thunder and Beverly Hills Cop II.

Scott, younger brother of film-maker Ridley Scott, leapt from the Vincent Thomas Bridge in LA. Lieutenant Joe Bale, of the county coroner's office, said the death was being treated as a suicide.

Cruise, who became a major name after being cast in the lead for Top Gun, said he "will really miss him". "He was a creative visionary whose mark on film is immeasurable. My deepest sorrow and thoughts are with his family at this time," he said.

There have been reports that Scott had been suffering from inoperable brain cancer. The original claim was made by ABC News in the United States, citing sources close to the Top Gun film-maker, but the broadcaster later said this was something his family was not aware of.

One of the latest stars to pay tribute is Denzel Washington, who appeared in many of his films. He said: "Tony Scott was a great director, a genuine friend and it is unfathomable to think that he is now gone. He had a tremendous passion for life and for the art of film-making and was able to share this passion with all of us through his cinematic brilliance.

"My family sends their prayers and deepest condolences to the entire Scott family."

British actress Keira Knightley, who worked with Scott on his 2005 film Domino, in which she starred as a bounty hunter, said: "Tony Scott was one of the most extraordinary, imaginative men I ever worked with. It was a privilege to have spent the time I did with him. He was a firecracker and one of the world's true originals."

A dive team pulled Scott's body from the water several hours after members of the public alerted emergency services, having seen him jump from the bridge. A suicide note is said to have been found at his office and he had left contact details in his black Toyota Prius parked close to the scene.

Scott, who lived in Beverly Hills, was married to actress Donna Scott, his third wife with whom he had twin sons. He ran Scott Free Productions with his brother and the pair were working on a film called Killing Lincoln.