AMERICAN actor Gene Wilder -- most famous for his role of Willy Wonka -- has died at age 83.

Family are reporting the actor, who also found fame in Mel Brooks comedies Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein, died of complications from Alzheimer's disease.

Mr Wilder was also a frequent collaborator with stand-up comedian Richard Pryor.

In an obituary for the actor, the BBC writes the two-time Oscar-nominated actor was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 1989.

Social media has already lit up with tributes to the late actor.

Tributes from the comedy world arrived immediately once the sad news was released of his passing.

British actor, writer and comedian Stephen Fry described Mr Wilder as a "comic genius".

"Thank you for all those happy happy hours," he wrote.

Ricky Gervais wrote: "Good Day Sir! RIP Gene Wilder", referencing one of his most iconic quotes from Willy Wonka.