Dame Helen Mirren has paid a touching tribute to her late cousin Tania Mallet.

Helen Mirren

Helen Mirren

The 73-year-old actress was devastated to lose her relative - who was most famous for starring as Bond girl Tilly Masterson in 1964's 'Goldfinger' - and sadly passed away at the weekend at the age of 77.

The 'Winchester' actress hailed the late model as "generous" and said she was "never vain" despite her "beautiful bone structure and eyes".

In a statement issued to PEOPLE.com, she said: "I was very sad to lose my cousin Tania this week. "Tania was my aunt Olga's daughter, and my sister [Katherine Kate' Mirren] and I grew up with her

"She showed her Russian heritage in her very beautiful bone structure and eyes, that made her into one of the top models of the early 60s.

"However she was never vain, but a kind and generous person who used her model earnings to put her half brothers through school.

"She was a great optimist and always looked on life with positivity."

The 'Queen' star has fond memories of being on the set of 'Goldfinger' with Tania and admitted she will be missed very much.

She added: "The first visit I ever made to a film set was visiting her in a night shoot on the set of 'Goldfinger', where she joined the exclusive club of 'Bond Girls'.

"I will always remember her laughter and the best porcini risotto I have ever tasted she made from porcini she found by the side of a golf course in Sussex (our Russian grandmother taught her how to look for mushrooms.)

"My sister and I will miss her very much."

The news of Tania's passing came on Sunday (31.03.19), with a message on the official Bond Twitter account reading: "We are very sorry to hear that Tania Mallet who played Tilly Masterson in GOLDFINGER has passed away.

"Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this sad time."

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