He'd retired from acting in 2012, due to the onset of Parkinson's disease, an incurable muscular disorder.
Hoskins was born in 1942 in Suffolk, where his mother was living after being evacuated due to the heavy bombings in London. He received only limited education and left school at 15, but with a passion for language and literature. A regular theatre-goer, Hoskins dreamed of being on stage, but worked many odd jobs for a long time to make ends meet - steeplejack, trainee accountant, circus fire-eater and hotel porter were just a few.
His big break came by accident, when he accompanied a friend to some auditions, only to be confused for one of the auditioners, having a script pushed into his hands and being told: "You're next"...
His career began on British tv shows. Moving into big film roles, his turn as a mobster in The Long Good Friday (1980) defined his tough guy persona.
He was nominated for a best actor Oscar in 1987 for Mona Lisa, in which he starred opposite Sir Michael Caine and Robbie Coltrane, and won a Golden Globe award. Caine says: "He was one of the nicest and best actors I have ever worked with."
His portrayal of J.Edgar Hoover in Nixon (1995) earnt him a Screen Actors Guild nomination, while in 2001's Enemy At The Gates, he played the cold-blooded future Russian premier Nikita Krushchev.
In later years he took on parts in smaller films, including Made in Dagenham, about women seeking equal pay with male workers at a car plant near London. He also played the voice of the character Winston in Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties (2006). The British Film Institute's Sight & Sound magazine says Hoskins was one of the most recognisable UK actors of the 1970s and 1980s.
My favourite Hoskins movie was with Judi Dench in Mrs Henderson Presents (2005). Keep your eyes peeled for him in many films of the past three decades - yes, even 1982's Pink Floyd The Wall (!!!).
Bob Hoskins: often understated, never under-rated.