The Swiss artist was best known for his surreal, heavily sexual artworks that also formed the basis of the Alien film franchise.

Artist HR Giger has died in hospital following a fall, according to Swiss news site Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen.

Born in Chur, Switzerland in 1940, Hans Rudolph Guger produced a wealth of "biomechanical" paintings that melded human bodies, architecture and machines in a distinctly sexual – and often sadomasochistic – way. These works draw on the traditions of science fiction and horror – two of his books are named after the ghastly Necronomicon much referenced in HP Lovecraft's fiction – as well as early psychiatry.

His most famous works were produced with an airbrush, but later in his career he preferred ink, markers and pastels.

In 1979, Giger designed an horrific creature for Ridley Scott's film Alien, for which he and the rest of the movie's visual effects team were awarded an Oscar in 1980. The design of the Alien's adult form was based on Giger's previous work Necronom 4 (below).  He also designed the 'chest-burster' form of the creature, its egg, the planet it's discovered on and the vessel the eggs are found on.

The Alien designed by HR Giger.

Giger also contributed to or formed the primary influence for the rest of the Alien franchise including Aliens, Alien 3, Alien Resurrection, Alien vs Predator, Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem and Prometheus.

Artists paying tribute to him and his influence on Twitter include many well-known names to Digital Arts readers.

HR Giger is survived by his wife, Carmen.