British film icon Alan Rickman dies at 69

Director and actor Alan Rickman. Photo: Chris Jackson/ Getty.

British actor Alan Rickman has died at age 69 after a battle with cancer.

His family confirmed his death in a statement released Thursday that said the actor died “surrounded by family and friends.”

Rickman is best known to younger fans for his role as Professor Snape in the Harry Potter films, but he shot to global fame at 41 in 1988 after playing Hans Gruber alongside Bruce Willis in “Die Hard.”

He died in his hometown of London and had fought his battle with cancer away from the limelight.

He was considered one of the greats of British theatre and had been a longtime member of the Royal Shakespeare company, one of Britain’s leading theatre organisations. He also won a Bafta for playing the Sheriff of Nottingham in “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves” in 1991.

Tributes to the actor started appearing on Twitter shortly after the announcement of his death. Politician and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called him “one of the greatest actors of our generation,” while actor Stephen Fry tweeted: “A man of such talent, wicked charm & stunning screen & stage presence. He’ll be sorely missed.”

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