Veteran actor Alan Rickman, best remembered for his roles in the "Harry Potter" series and "Die Hard," died this morning in London from cancer. He was 69. According to a statement from his family, Rickman "was surrounded by family and friends."
Born in London in 1946, Rickman began his career on the stage, earning his big break in 1985 with his Tony Award-nominated performance in "Les Liaisons Dangereuses." However, it was his turn as Hans Gruber in the 1988 blockbuster "Die Hard" that brought him to worldwide attention.
Although frequently a leading man, Rickman embraced such memorable villainous roles as the Sheriff of Nottingham in "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" and Judge Turpin in "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street."
Rickman also dabbled in the unexpected, lending his voice to an episodes of the animated "King of the Hill" and "Back to the Barnyard" and to "Alice in Wonderland," and spoofing Shakespearean-trained actors in the 1999 sci-fi comedy "Galaxy Quest."
But, of course, for a generation of movie-goers, he'll always be Hogwarts instructor Severus Snape in the "Harry Potter" movies.
There are no words to express how shocked and devastated I am to hear of Alan Rickman's death," "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling wrote on Twitter. "He was a magnificent actor & a wonderful man. My thoughts are with Rima and the rest of Alan's family. We have all lost a great talent. They have lost part of their hearts."