His untimely death at the age of 63 has shocked the world.
Here are 11 of his best lines from his many films.
1. “You don’t know about real loss, ‘cause that only occurs when you’ve loved something more than you love yourself. And I doubt you’ve ever dared to love anybody that much.” (Sean Maguire in Good Will Hunting)
2. “What’s wrong with death sir? What are we so mortally afraid of? Why can’t we treat death with a certain amount of humanity and dignity, and decency, and God forbid, maybe even humour. Death is not the enemy, gentlemen. If we’re going to fight a disease, let’s fight one of the most terrible diseases of all - indifference.” (Patch Adams)
3. “Gooooood Morning Vietnam! It’s 0600. What’s the O stand for? ‘Oh, my God, it’s early.’” (Adrian Cronauer in Good Morning Vietnam)
4. “You’ll have bad times, but it’ll always wake you up to the good stuff you weren’t paying attention to.” (Sean Maguire in Good Will Hunting)
5. “But if there’s love, dear ... those are the ties that bind, and you’ll have a family in your heart forever.”(Mrs Doubtfire)
6. “We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.” (John Keating in Dead Poets Society)
7. “Only occasionally, without a sound, do the covers of the eyes slide open. An image rushes in, goes through the tensed silence of the frame - only to vanish, forever, in the heart.” (Dr Malcolm Sayer in Awakenings)
8. “You know what music is? God’s little reminder that there’s something else besides us in this universe, a harmonic connection between all living beings, every where, even the stars.” (Maxwell ‘Wizard’ Wallace in August Rush)
9. “All of life is a coming home. Salesmen, secretaries, coal miners, beekeepers, sword swallowers, all of us. All the restless hearts of the world, all trying to find a way home.” (Patch Adams)
10. “A whole human life is just a heartbeat here in Heaven. Then we’ll all be together forever.” (Chris Nielsen in What Dreams May Come)
11. “If you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? Carpe - hear it? - Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.” (John Keating in Dead Poets Society)