Brown died of bowel cancer despite keeping the news a secret from many. He died surrounded by family and friends including Geoffrey Rush.
He is best known for his long association with the Queensland Theatre Company as well as starring roles in several films, including Fierce Creatures, Oscar and Lucinda opposite Cate Blanchett and Ralph Fiennes, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and The Dish.
Last September, he was nominated for a Helpmann award for best male actor for his tour de force performance in the STC-Malthouse production of The Histrionic. He also earned an Olivier nomination as the Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz in London.
His TV roles included Rake, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Wild Boys, Heartbeat, All Saints, Curtin, Grass Roots, White Collar Blue, Big Sky,
The family said in a statement: “Bille Brown AM was a celebrated actor, acclaimed playwright and an honoured Australian. He was a larger than life character, with an infectious and warm personality.
“Bille had the utmost respect of his peers and a huge heart. Bille fought a courageous fight with cancer for twelve months, but as a very private man, he did not let the disease stop him from performing and creating. Many were not aware of his condition.
“His passing deeply saddens us. We thank the arts community for their support at this sensitive time.”