The marine conservationist who shot underwater footage for classic movie Jaws has died at the age of 78.

Ron Taylor lost his battle with leukemia in his native Australia on Sunday, according to the Associated Press.

The shark expert was hired by director Steven Spielberg to shoot real-life footage of great whites for his epic 1975 blockbuster, and his stunning up-close video featured heavily in the film.

The scientist agreed to take on the project in order to rally support for research and protection efforts.

Taylor has also filmed a number of documentaries about sharks, including Inner Space, which was narrated by William Shatner.

In 2003, he was named a Member of the Order of Australia - one of the country's highest civilian honors - for his lifetime of work.