Actor Alan Rickman Dead at 69

British actor, Alan Rickman, the star of Die Hard and Severus Snape in the Harry Potter series, died on Thursday at age 69.

A spokesman for the London-based Independent Talent Group confirmed his death. The BBC published a family statement that revealed cancer as the cause of death. At the end, the statement said, “He was surrounded by family and friends.”

In an acting career that spanned more than 40 years, Mr. Rickman, who was born in London and spoke with a sensuous, shadowy purr and often bore an enigmatic grin on his face, played a panoply of characters whose outward and seemingly obvious villainy often concealed more complicated emotions and motivations.

Mr. Rickman, who attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, had his early successes in stage works like the Royal Shakespeare Company’s 1985 production of Christopher Hampton’s “Les Liaisons Dangereuses,” in which he played the manipulative Vicomte de Valmont. He later earned a Tony Award nomination for the role when the production transferred to Broadway in 1987.

On Thursday, Mr. Rickman was mourned by fellow actors like Stephen Fry, who on his Twitter account described Mr. Rickman a “man of such talent, wicked charm & stunning screen & stage presence.”

Mr. Rickman is survived by his wife, Rima Horton. The couple secretly wed in 2012, but had been together for more 40 years, People magazine reported last April.

“My thoughts are with Rima and the rest of Alan’s family,” Ms. Rowling said on Thursday on Twitter. “We have all lost a great talent. They have lost part of their hearts.”

Ms. Rowling also wrote on Twitter, “There are no words to express how shocked and devastated I am to hear of Alan Rickman’s death. He was a magnificent actor & a wonderful man.”

Read more from the New York Times Obituary. Rickman’s dear friend, Emma Thompson,  who starred with the actor in three Harry Potter films. Love Actually, Sense and Sensibility and more, also wrote a touching tribute

“What I remember most in this moment of painful leave-taking is his humour, intelligence, wisdom and kindness. His capacity to fell you with a look or lift you with a word.”

“The intransigence which made him the great artist he was – his ineffable and cynical wit, the clarity with which he saw most things, including me, and the fact that he never spared me the view. I learned a lot from him.

“He was the finest of actors and directors. I couldn’t wait to see what he was going to do with his face next. I consider myself hugely privileged to have worked with him so many times and to have been directed by him.”

“He was the ultimate ally. In life, art and politics. I trusted him absolutely. He was, above all things, a rare and unique human being and we shall not see his like again.”

“What I remember most in this moment of painful leave-taking is his humour, intelligence, wisdom and kindness. His capacity to fell you with a look or lift you with a word.”

Harry Potter star, Daniel Radcliffe, left a tribute on his Google+ page:

Alan Rickman is undoubtedly one of the greatest actors I will ever work with. He is also, one of the loyalest and most supportive people I’ve ever met in the film industry. He was so encouraging of me both on set and in the years post-Potter. I’m pretty sure he came and saw everything I ever did on stage both in London and New York. He didn’t have to do that. I know other people who’ve been friends with him for much much longer than I have and they all say “if you call Alan, it doesn’t matter where in the world he is or how busy he is with what he’s doing, he’ll get back to you within a day”.

People create perceptions of actors based on the parts they played so it might surprise some people to learn that contrary to some of the sterner(or downright scary) characters he played, Alan was extremely kind, generous, self-deprecating and funny. And certain things obviously became even funnier when delivered in his unmistakable double-bass.

As an actor he was one of the first of the adults on Potter to treat me like a peer rather than a child. Working with him at such a formative age was incredibly important and I will carry the lessons he taught me for the rest of my life and career. Film sets and theatre stages are all far poorer for the loss of this great actor and man.

One of my favorite Alan Rickman films is 1990’s Truly Madly Deeply, with Juliet Stevenson. Rickman played the deceased boyfriend who comes back as a ghost to his grieving girlfriend. The film is a rumination on love and letting go. Of course, his role as Severus Snape will be remembered by a generation of kids who grew up on the Harry Potter films. Rip Alan Rickman

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