The director passed away on Monday (07Jan13) in Johannesburg, South Africa, where he was preparing to work on his new film Kite, according to Deadline.com. His cause of death is unknown as WENN went to press.
Samuel L. Jackson has led the tributes to the moviemaker, who directed him in 2006 thriller Snakes On A Plane, with a touching post on his Twitter.com page.
He writes, ""So sad to hear of David R Ellis passing! So talented, so kind, such a Good Friend. He'll be missed. Gone too soon!""
Ellis started his Hollywood career as an actor - his big screen debut was in 1975's The Strongest Man in the World - and he also worked as a stuntman and stunt coordinator before moving into directing in the 1980s.
As a second unit director, Ellis worked on films including Waterworld, The Matrix Reloaded and Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone.
His first directing job was on 1996's Disney film Homeward Bound 2: Lost In San Francisco, and he followed it up with Final Destination 2 in 2003. Ellis' directing credits also include 2004's Cellular, 2008's Asylum, The Final Destination and Shark Night 3D in 2011.
One of the star's last projects is this year's (13) Winter's Tale, which stars Colin Farrell, Will Smith, Jennifer Connelly and Russell Crowe - he took on second unit directing duties.
Ellis is survived by his wife and three children.