The Swiss artist and designer of Ridley Scott’s Alien died aged 74.

Filmmaker Ridley Scott has paid tribute to HR Giger, the Swiss artist who died in hospital on Monday after he fell down stairs at his Zurich home. He was 74.

Giger was best known as the designer of the alien in Scott’s sci-fi horror masterpiece for which he won a visual effects Oscar in 1980.

Scott said: “I am very saddened to hear of Giger’s passing. I think back on how committed and passionate he was, and then consequently, all the security we built up around his “lock up” studios at Shepperton.

“I was the only one allowed the honour of going in, and I absolutely enjoyed every hour I spent with him there. He was a real artist and great eccentric, a true original, but above all, he was a really nice man. He will be missed.”

Born in 1940, Giger studied architecture and industrial design in Zurich and was known for creating bizarre dreamscapes.

The predatory alien in Scott’s 1979 film was inspired by his piece Necronom IV. He went on to work on sequel Alien 3 in 1992 and made an appearance in Jodorowsky’s Dune, a documentary that played at the Cannes Film Festival last year.