London [PAA & other sources]
Alan Rickman, best known for his roles in the Harry Potter films and Die Hard, has died aged 69.
The much-loved British actor first shot to stardom in 1988 when he played Hans Gruber, Bruce Willis’s adversary, in Die Hard.
He gained legions of fans for his role as Professor Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films.
A family statement said: ‘The actor and director Alan Rickman has died from cancer at the age of 69. He was surrounded by family and friends.’
According to BBC News, Harry Potter author JK Rowling led the tributes, describing him as ‘a magnificent actor and a wonderful man’.
‘There are no words to express how shocked and devastated I am to hear of Alan Rickman’s death.’
Emma Thompson, who appeared with Rickman in productions including Love Actually and was directed by him in The Winter Guest, said he was ‘the finest of actors and directors’ and ‘the ultimate ally’.
Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe said Rickman was ‘undoubtedly one of the greatest actors I will ever work with.
‘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.’
Fans of the younger Rickman will remember him fondly as the unctuous cleric Obadiah Slope in the TV series The Barchester Chronicles.