The director worked with Liotta on Goodfellas (Picture: AP/Warner Bros)

Martin Scorsese has been left ‘shocked and devastated’ by Ray Liotta’s death.

The Many Saints of Newark actor died in his sleep at the age of 67 on Thursday (May 26), and his Goodfellas director has paid tribute to the ‘adventurous and courageous’ star as he recalled their time working together on the 1990 classic gangster film.

Martin told People in a statement: ‘I’m absolutely shocked and devastated by the sudden, unexpected death of Ray Liotta. He was so uniquely gifted, so adventurous, so courageous as an actor.

‘Playing Henry Hill in Goodfellas was a tall order, because the character had so many different facets, so many complicated layers, and Ray was in almost every scene of a long, tough shoot.

‘He absolutely amazed me, and I’ll always be proud of the work we did together on that picture. My heart goes out to his loved ones, and it aches for his loss, way too early.’

Fellow Goodfellas actors Robert De Niro and Paul Sorvino also paid tribute to Ray.

Scorsese described Liotta as ‘so courageous as an actor’ (Picture: Allstar/Warner Bros. / Barry Wetcher)

Robert said: ‘I was very saddened to learn of Ray’s passing. He is way too young to have left us.’

Paul added: ‘Ray was a terrific actor and a “goodfella” in the best sense of the word. He was great to work with and a good friend. I’m really going to miss him.’

Alessandro Nivola thinks it is ‘a shame’ that Ray – who was filming Dangerous Waters in the Dominican Republic at the time of his death – passed away at a time when he was experiencing a ‘real renaissance’ in his career.

He told The Hollywood Reporter of his Many Saints of Newark co-star: ‘Apart from just feeling sad he’s not here anymore, I feel it is a shame that he died when he was suddenly having a real renaissance, the opportunity to offer so many great performances again.

‘One of my big takeaways from experience on Many Saints was just how excited he was to be there — and how very serious he was in his preparation…

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‘He’s a very difficult guy to describe in a few words because he contained multitudes. And what made him so exciting as an actor to watch was he was very unpredictable. I just had to be on my toes because I didn’t know which direction he was going to go.

‘He was never boring and definitely had a sense of humor. He was very demanding of himself and of other people. He had very high standards about acting, about his craft…

‘He loved the film. He got a lot of appreciation for his work, and rightly so. And I’ve even noticed on social media today, that people have said, “What a great performance to go out on.” ‘

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