Oscar-winning 'Chariots of Fire' writer Welland dies

Actor Colin Wellandsuffered from Alzheimer's disease for several years and died on Monday night.

London: British writer and actor Colin Welland, who won an Oscar for the screenplay of "Chariots of Fire", has died aged 81, his family announced on Tuesday.

He had suffered from Alzheimer's disease for several years and died on Monday night, they said.

"Colin will be desperately missed by his family and friends," his family said in a statement.

"Alzheimer's is a cruel illness and there have been difficult times but in the end Colin died peacefully in his sleep.

"We are proud of Colin's many achievements during his life."

The fact-based "Chariots of Fire" revolved around two athletes at the 1924 Olympics: an English Jew who runs to overcome prejudice, and a devout Scottish Christian who runs for the glory of God.

On winning the Oscar for best original screenplay at the 1982 Academy Awards, Welland warned the audience: "The British are coming!" -- a famous quotation attributed to US revolutionary war hero Paul Revere.

As an actor, Welland appeared in the popular British television police drama series "Z-Cars" in the 1960s.

He also played a schoolteacher in Ken Loach's heartwarming 1969 film "Kes", about a bullied boy who befriends a kestrel.

Welland is survived by his wife Patricia, four children and six grandchildren.

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