Goodbye, Professor Snape: Actor Alan Rickman dies of cancer
Beloved British actor Alan Rickman – best known for his roles as Severus Snape in the Harry Potter movies and villain Hans Gruber in Die Hard – has died of cancer at the age of 69.
The star, whose glittering career in film and theater spanned close to four decades, was secretly battling the disease and was "surrounded by family and friends" at the time of his death in London, according to his family.
Rickman graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and established himself in theatre before getting his big movie break in 1988 as Bruce Willis' nemesis Hans Gruber in Die Hard.
The thespian then received critical acclaim when he appeared opposite Kevin Costner in 1991's Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves as the Sheriff of Nottingham, a role that earned Rickman a Bafta Award for his campy portrayal of the character.
After appearing in Ang Lee's Sense and Sensibility in 1995 as well as the controversial 1999 film Dogma, Rickman gained a cult following from a new generation of movie-goers when he donned the famous black robes of Professor Snape in the wildly successful adaptation of JK Rowling's Harry Potter books.
Warning: Video contains spoilers.
Upon finishing his role in the eighth film, Rickman showed his gratitude for being handed the role of Snape by placing a full-page ad in Empire magazine. It was a heartfelt letter to Rowling speaking of his journey alongside his young co-stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint.
Rickman was also fondly remembered for displaying a softer side in romantic comedies like 1991's Truly, Madly, Deeply as well as Love, Actually from 2003.
Rickman is survived by his wife Rima Horton. They first met as teenagers in 1965 and after 47 years together, they secretly married in 2012.