MUCH adored actor Alan Rickman, known for films including Harry Potter, Die Hard and Love Actually, has sadly died from cancer today.
His death was announced in a family statement which said: “The actor and director Alan Rickman has died from cancer at the age of 69. He was surrounded by family and friends.”
Rickman, one of Britain’s best loved and admired actors, was a star of stage and screen across the world and was always recognisable by his languid and drawling speech.
The London-born actor began his career on the stage working for infamous theatre companies such as the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Although he is now best known for his work on screen, he returned to the stage often throughout his career: the place where he established himself as one of Britain’s most compelling and captivating actors.
After working in the theatre for many years, he shot to global acclaim in 1988 when he appeared in Bruce Willis’ all guns blazing action thriller Die Hard as internationally feared German terrorist Hans Gruber.
Rickman then became known as one of Hollywood’s favourite bad guys playing a series of memorable villains.
His role as the outrageous Sheriff of Nottingham in 1991’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves led him to win a Bafta award, the first of many awards and nominations he would receive throughout his career.
Rickman then found a whole younger generation of fans when he put on the black robes of Professor Severus Snape in the immensely popular Harry Potter series of films.
Snape was one of the best and most loved characters from the series, which is no surprise considering Rickman’s fantastic performance as the mysterious professor.
Rickman worked behind the camera, as well as in front of it. His first directorial The Winter Guest starred his long-time friend Emma Thompson, an actress he often shared the screen with in films such as Love Actually, and A Little Chaos, a romantic drama starring Kate Winslet released last year.
Two films he had been working on, war thriller Eye in the Sky and sequel Alice Through the Looking Glass, are to be released later this year and are the last times we can see the beloved actor on the big screen.
Rickman met his wife, Rima Horton, when they were teenagers in 1965 and the pair married in 2012. She became an economics lecturer as well as a Labour Party councillor.
People across the world have been taking to social media sites to pay tribute to the actor and pass on their well wishes to his family and friends.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was one of the first to pay tribute on Twitter along with Stephen Fry and David Morrissey.
Very sad to hear that Alan Rickman has passed away. One of the greatest actors of his generation. My thoughts are with his family & friends
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) January 14, 2016
What desperately sad news about Alan Rickman. A man of such talent, wicked charm & stunning screen & stage presence. He'll be sorely missed
— Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) January 14, 2016
So sad to hear the news of Alan Rickman. A wonderful actor and lovely man. Tragic news.
— David Morrissey (@davemorrissey64) January 14, 2016
Rickman once said: “Actors are agents of change. A film, a piece of theatre, a piece of music, or a book can make a difference. It can change the world.”
And Rickman lived up to this being more than an actor.
He made an impact on millions across the world whether it was through his performance as Professor Snape in the Harry Potter franchise or through his work with charities such as the International Performers’ Aid Trust, which seeks to help artists in developing and poverty-stricken countries.
Today may have seen the loss of a great talent and man, but he will be remembered and always be loved by all.
By Emily Murray