Legendary screen and stage director Ingmar Bergman has died at his home in Sweden, reports suggest.

According to Sweden's TT news agency, Eva Bergman, who is also a director, said her 89-year-old father died on the island of Faro early this morning.

It was not immediately known what caused Mr Bergman's death.

Mr Bergman has been widely credited as being one of the foremost European directors of his generation and three of his films, The Virgin Spring, Through a Glass Darkly and Fanny and Alexander, won best foreign language film Oscars.

His films were known for their examinations of existentialism and he was also honoured with the Irving G Thalberg memorial award for his creative work at the 1971 Academy awards.

Much of his work, which spanned more than 50 years, focussed on his home country and explored the themes thrown up by the Arctic Circle climatic conditions in Sweden.

Mr Bergman was also widely renowned in theatre circles and spent much of his later career concentrating on the stage.

Rarely giving interviews, Mr Bergman did give a brief insight into his own perception of his films when talking to Swedish TV in 2004.

"I don't watch my own films very often," he said.

"I become so jittery and ready to cry... and miserable. I think it's awful."

Mr Bergman married five times, the most recent ending in 2005 when Ingrid von Rosen died after battling cancer.

He is survived by nine children from a number of relationships, including directors Eva and Daniel, actors Liv, Anna and Matts and writer Linn.

30/07/2007 11:56:32