Agustí Villaronga. | Miquel À. Cañellas

One of the most important figures in Spain's film industry, Mallorcan director Agustí Villaronga, passed away on Sunday morning. He was 69 and had been suffering from cancer since 2021.

Also an actor, his first steps as as a filmmaker were with short films. His feature film debut was In a Glass Cage in 1986. Selected by the Berlin International Film Festival, it received great critical acclaim and a number of awards.

In 2011, he won Spain's top film award, the Goya Award for Best Director. This was for Black Bread.

On December 1 last year, Spain's ministry of culture awarded him the Gold Medal of Merit in the Fine Arts.

His work often dealt with themes related to the Spanish Civil War. This was the case with Black Bread and El Mar, a story set in Mallorca about three former childhood friends traumatised by the violence they had experienced.

Among the numerous tributes paid to him, President Armengol said that he was "one of the most important film creators in our history, who was recognised inside and outside the country". "Your work, talent and wisdom will remain. We will miss you."

Spain's minister of culture, Miquel Iceta, has described him as "a great phenomenon of Catalan cinema". "His work is still very much alive."

Fellow director Marcos Cabotà said "Agustí was a great global figure as well as the best director who has come out of our land, Mallorca. His art and his heart always went hand in hand. Maestro, I thank you for your teachings and for that last movie we watched together. I already miss you."