Antonio Sabáto Sr., an Italian American actor known for his roles in “Grand Prix” and “Escape From the Bronx,” died Sunday due to COVID-19 complications. He was 77.

“His many years as a successful actor and screenwriter both in Italy and the United States were his artistic passion,” his son, actor-model Antonio Sabato Jr., said on Instagram Sunday.

Sabato Jr., had tweeted Jan. 4 that Sabáto was hospitalized in California due to the coronavirus, posting a brief prayer for his father with the tweet. “My papa/dad is in intensive care with covid in California,” he said. “Lord keep him surrounded by angels and pure God’s love and strength within.” The younger Sabáto has been a vocal critic on social media of the use of masks to control the spread of coronavirus.

The elder Sabáto got his start in the entertainment industry in 1966 when he appeared in the Italian film “Lo scandalo.” That same year he starred in “Grand Prix,” an American film with an international cast of actors helming the project. The movie went on to win three Academy awards.

Throughout the next two decades, the actor continued to star in a slew of Italian films, from the spaghetti Western “One Dollar Too Many” to science fiction projects like “War of the Robots” — and virtually any genre in between.

In the mid 1980s, Sabáto immigrated to the U.S. with his family, continuing his career in films like 1997’s “High Voltage.” His last credit as an actor came in the television series “The Bold and the Beautiful,” in which he appeared in seven episodes in 2006.

In addition to his son, Sabáto is survived by a daughter, Simonne and three grandchildren.

Clarification: Antonio Sabato Jr. had earlier appeared to announce his father’s death on Twitter, but the tweet was deleted. Sabato Sr. died Sunday, Jan. 10.