Sadly it was on this day in 1980, that actor Steve McQueen, one of Hollywood's leading men of the 1960s and 1970s and the star of action thrillers including Bullitt, The Towering Inferno and the unforgettable The Great Escape, died at the age of just 50 in Mexico, where he was undergoing an experimental treatment for cancer.

McQueen was diagnosed with mesothelioma the year before. It's a type of cancer often related to asbestos exposure. It's believed that McQueen's affinity for fast cars and motorcycles might have exposed him to asbestos by wearing racing suits lined with the material. And so it was that 33 years ago today we lost not just a screen legend but also one of the most impossibly cool people to ever walk upon planet earth.

Whether it was carefully cultivated, or just a casual coincidence, Steve McQueen exuded a massive amount of classic cool that has rarely, if ever been equalled - certainly not by any celebrity living today.

The cool factor for modern celebrities has been largely dissipated due to the ceaseless paparazzi fest that deliberately and determinedly seeks to capture them at their lowest moments; whether it be stumbling out of bars, mouthing racist comments or simply saying something stupid on Twitter, there are just too many ways for that essential element of cool to be destroyed by a poorly judged media bite.

In the summer of 1980, McQueen travelled to Rosarito Beach, Mexico, where he underwent an unorthodox cancer treatment which of course di not work. On November 6, 1980, he had surgery to remove tumours; but he died the following day. His final films were Tom Horn and The Hunter, both of which were released in 1980.

All we have left to cling to in terms of genuine Hollywood cool are the many coffee table style books on the man who seems to epitomise the status more than anyone else. However, it is possible to emulate the late Mr. McQueen in more practical ways.

The is a site dedicated to preserving the insouciant cool of Steve McQueen and for you to bask in his reflective glory with faithful reproductions of iconic items he used to wear. These include:

The Barbour Steve McQueen Dust jacket

This is a retro motorcycling jacket which undoubtedly does have a cool, rebellious look about it. It's made from a heavy duty cotton; with a half height lining in the back that is printed with an image of McQueen jumping on his Triumph TR6.

Frank Bullitt jacket

This jacket is a true classic from Steve McQueen's wardrobe when he was at the peak of his powers. It's an impeccably faithful reproduction of the herringbone jacket he wore in the movie Bullitt. This jacket was lovingly recreated by having a Savile Row tailor watch the movie with the site owner and take copious notes about the cloth, cutting and style. The pockets are at the correct angle and positioned where they should be. There's also a small flapped ticket pocket on the right. The jacket even includes a subtle touch that only the keenest of eyes would spot is that McQueen's Frank Bullitt jacket had what in the tailoring world is known as a 'swelled' edge.

Great Escape M-43 boots

These excellent replicas are by Red Wing and are extremely close to the boots Steve McQueen wore in the movie The Great Escape. They themselves were replicas of the boots worn by GI's in World War II and were known as M-43's. These boots come with a steel toe for extra resilience while motorcycling, which is an attribute Stev McQueen did not have in the boots he wore.

Steve McQueen Watches

For Steve McQueen followers on Watchuseek, attention is naturally directed towards the many watches he wore.

Frank Bullitt watch

The watch McQueen wore as Frank Bullitt was modelled on a Vietnam veteran's watch, the implication being perhaps he was ex-military. The watch itself was produced to a specification for infantry watches known as MIL-W-3818B and they were made by Hamilton, Bulova and Benrus.

TAG Heuer Monaco

Immortalised by Steve McQueen in the movie Le Mans, the watch is powered by the Chronomatic Calibre II. It was the first square automatic chronograph. It was only one year old when Steve McQueen chose it for its date with destiny, and it has remained a much beloved classic ever since. The watch today comes in several variations, the latest of which is the Monaco V4, the first watch with a belt-driven transmission.

Hanhart 417 chronograph

Perhaps less known is the Hanhart 417, a relatively rare watch. It is estimated that only 500 were made in either pure stainless steel (reference 417ES) or chromed brass (reference 417). A small number were made with white dials for the medical service.