Sands, famous for his role in the film A Room with a View, went missing in January after hiking during a winter storm.
Authorities in the United States have confirmed that British actor Julian Sands is dead after skeletal remains were discovered in the mountains outside of Los Angeles, where he went missing months ago.
The county sheriff’s department confirmed that the San Bernardino Coroner had positively identified his remains, which were spotted by hikers on Saturday. Sands, an avid outdoorsman, was first declared missing on January 13 after he left for a hike by himself in the snowy mountains of southern California.
“We continue to hold Julian in our hearts with bright memories of him as a wonderful father, husband, explorer, lover of the natural world and the arts, and as an original and collaborative performer,” his family said in a recent statement.
Sands was born and raised in England. Though his career spanned 40 years and more than 150 performances, the British actor was best known for his role in the 1985 Oscar-winning film A Room with a View.
He also appeared in movies such as Oxford Blues, Leaving Las Vegas and The Killing Fields.
Sands set out for his final hike at a time when California was experiencing unusually severe winter storms, as part of a series of high-moisture bands called “atmospheric rivers” that dumped heavy rain and snow on the state.
It is not yet clear exactly how the 65-year-old Sands died, but advisories in January cautioned that heavy snow had created treacherous conditions in the Baldy Bowl Wilderness Preserve of the San Gabriel Mountains, where he was hiking.
An initial search party was called off due to avalanche risks and poor trail conditions. Other search efforts, some of which included drones and helicopters, also faced problems due to fierce weather.
According to the sheriff’s department, the last mobile phone signal from Sands was picked up on January 15.
In a 2020 interview with The Guardian, the actor, a passionate climber and hiker, said he was happiest when he was “close to a mountain summit on a glorious cold morning”.
Like many avid outdoorsmen, he also acknowledged that such proximity to the thrills of the natural world came with risks. In the 1990s, Sands said he had almost died on a climbing expedition in the Andes mountain range.
Sands recalled that he and three others were “in a very bad way” as they found themselves trapped by a storm at an altitude of more than 6,096 metres (20,000 feet).
“Some guys close to us perished,” he said. “We were lucky.”