Most people's favourite James Bond character, Roger Moore, has passed away at the age of 89.

The British actor who played the womanising super spy James Bond over two decades died Tuesday aged 89, according to his children.

“It is with a heavy heart that we must announce our loving father, Sir Roger Moore, has passed away today in Switzerland after a short but brave battle with cancer,” they said in a statement published on Twitter.

“We are all devastated,” Deborah, Geoffrey and Christian said, adding: “Thank you Pops for being you, and for being so very special to so many people.”

Moore won fame as the smooth-talking adventurer Simon Templar in British television show “The Saint” in the 1960s, and also starred alongside Tony Curtis in “The Persuaders” in the 1970s.

But it was not until 1973, at the age of 45, that he won the role that for many fans would come to define him, as Bond novelist Ian Fleming’s fictional secret agent.

Moore made his debut as 007 in “Live and Let Die”, following it with six more films, only bowing out with 1985’s “A View to a Kill”, when he was 57.

In later years Moore became known for his humanitarian work, notably through his activities as a UNICEF ambassador, helping raise funds for under-privileged children.

“With the passing of Sir Roger Moore, the world has lost one of its great champions for children – and the entire UNICEF family has lost a great friend,” the UN agency’s executive director Anthony Lake said.

Moore’s children said he considered the UNICEF work — for which he was given a knighthood in 2003 — his “greatest achievement”.