The 81-year-old Hollywood director Wolfgang Petersen has passed away

Wolfgang Petersen, 81 years old, passed away after a long and successful career in Hollywood.

Wolfgang Petersen is often considered one of the most influential directors in modern cinema

Wolfgang Petersen had been battling pancreatic cancer for some time and had been in treatment for it for over a year.

Wolfgang Petersen was born in Germany in 1936 and started his career as a production assistant on the 1960s TV series "The Rat Patrol".

He followed that up with the 1993 thriller "In the Line of Fire", starring Clint Eastwood, and the 2000 disaster movie "The Perfect Storm"

n later years, Petersen directed the 2006 action movie "Air Force One" and the 2009 drama "Pompeii"

He is survived by his wife, actress-producer  Maria Borgel, and their two children