British actor Alan Rickman, who frequently graced both the big screen and the theater stage, has died. He was 69.

Alan Rickman Dies

Rickman’s death was announced by his family Thursday, reported the BBC. The statement read: “The actor and director Alan Rickman has died from cancer at the age of 69. He was surrounded by family and friends.”

Rickman was likely best known for his role in the film adaptations of J.K. Rowling‘s Harry Potter series of Professor Snape. As the potions professor and nemesis to the young Harry, Rickman’s Snape became a character that fans loved to hate.

Rowling, who watched Rickman bring her character Severus Snape to life, mourned his death on Twitter.

“There are no words to express how shocked and devastated I am to hear of Alan Rickman’s death,” Rowling wrote. “My thoughts are with [Rickman’s wife] Rima and the rest of Alan’s family. We have all lost a great talent. They have lost part of their hearts.”

Often playing the villain, Rickman was also well known for starring in Die Hard as Hans Gruber. Die Hard director Joel Silver had cast him in the part after seeing his Tony-nominated turn as the manipulative Vicomte de Valmont in Les Liaisons Dangereuses on Broadway in 1986.

Rickman’s other villainous roles included the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991) and Judge Turpin in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007).

While Rickman might be best remembered for his villainous roles, they weren’t the only ones he took on. Rickman played romantic leads in Truly Madly Deeply (1990), Sense and Sensibility (1995) and Love Actually (2003).

Rickman most recently wrapped voicing the Blue Caterpillar for Alice in Wonderland 2: Through the Looking Glass.

Rickman is survived by his wife Rima Horton, with whom he’s been with since his late teens.


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