Alan Rickman, the beloved British actor whose many film and stage roles earned him generations of fans, has died at the age of 69, his family confirmed to the Guardian and the BBC. Rickman had cancer, his family told multiple outlets.
The short family statement, printed by the BBC, said that Rickman died “surrounded by family and friends.”
Many knew Rickman best in recent years for his film portrayal of Professor Severus Snape in the “Harry Potter” film series. But his signature performances span decades and genres.
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.
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) January 14, 2016
For some, Rickman might conjure up the Sheriff of Nottingham from 1991’s “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.” Others might remember him first for his role in 2003’s “Love Actually.” Or, for his leading performance in “Truly, Madly, Deeply.” Or, as Hans Gruber in “Die Hard.”
Still others will remember him for his many stage performances, to which, as the Guardian notes, he returned through his entire career. He was nominated for Tony Awards for “Les Liasions Dangereuses” in 1987 and “Private Lives” in 2002, and starred in “Seminar” in 2011.
His range of roles (which also included everything from “Galaxy Quest” to “Sense and Sensibility”) triggered an outpouring on social media, as many people had different favorite memories of him playing a character. However, his work as Professor Snape particularly resonated — “Harry Potter” star Daniel Radcliffe, who bonded with Rickman over the years, wrote a tribute.
“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,” Radcliffe wrote. “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.”