Revered Algerian actor Ahmed Benaissa died on Friday in Cannes after a long illness, according to the Algerian Ministry of Culture. He was 78.

Benaissa’s latest film, Clement Cogitore’s “Sons of Ramses,” (“Goutte d’Or”) in which he had a key role, playing Ramses’s (Karim Leklou) father, is premiering at Cannes on Friday, as a special screening in the Critics’ Week strand of the festival.

“I am deeply saddened at the sudden passing of Ahmed Benaissa,” Cogitore said. “The film would not exist without him and words can’t express our sorrow at premiering the film in Cannes today.”

“Sons Of Ramses” is produced by Jean-Christophe Reymond for Kazak Productions. It is distributed in France by Diaphana Distribution. MK2 is handling international sales.

A statement released by Kazak, MK2, Diaphana and Karim Leklou said: “We have learned of the sudden death of comedian Ahmed Benaissa. All our heartfelt thoughts go out to his family and loved ones. Tonight’s screening of “Sons of Ramses” (“Goutte d’Or”) in Cannes is dedicated to him.

Sourieh Molougi, Algeria’s Minister of Culture and the Arts, said: “The art scene has lost one of its prominent people. He [Benaissa] leaves behind a theatrical and cinematic artistic legacy.”

Benaissa leaves behind a body of work that includes more than 120 films and plays. He was born in Algeria and later moved to Paris, France, where he studied at the National Theater School. He made his film debut in 1971 with Derri Berkani’s “Étoile aux dents ou Poulou le magnifique.”

Recent film credits include “Le sang des loups,” “Papicha” and “Close Enemies.” The late actor was also active in the National Theater of Algiers.