Hogwarts loses its favourite villain: Devastated Harry Potter stars pay tribute to 'magnificent' Alan Rickman as actor dies aged 69 after secret battle with cancer
- The London-born star has died in hospital aged 69, surrounded by his family, after battling cancer in secret
- He was known for his roles in Harry Potter, Robin Hood and Love Actually as well as a successful stage career
- J.K. Rowling, Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson led the emotional tributes to Rickman after his unexpected death
- His final two films, a drone drama and an animated movie, have yet to come out and will be released later this year
- See more on Alan Rickman's death at www.dailymail.co.uk/alanrickman
Dead at 69: Alan Rickman, pictured at one of the last times he was seen in public, at the play Hangmen in London on December 7
Harry Potter stars have expressed their grief today after the unexpected death of Alan Rickman following his secret battle with cancer.
The British actor, known for his roles in films such as Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Die Hard as well as the wizarding film franchise, kept his fight with illness private before his death at 69 this morning.
JK Rowling led the tributes to Rickman today, calling him 'a magnificent actor and a wonderful man', while co-stars including Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson told how he had mentored them early on in their careers.
The 50-year-old Potter author tweeted: 'There are no words to express how shocked and devastated I am to hear of Alan Rickman's death.
'He was a magnificent actor and 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.'
Radcliffe, 26, who starred in the Potter films as Harry, added: 'Alan Rickman is undoubtedly one of the greatest actors I will ever work with.'
Rickman revealed last year that he had secretly married his partner Rima Horton in New York in 2012, 35 years after they began their relationship.
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.'
His brother David, 71, added: 'He passed away this morning. He was in a hospital at the time.'
It is not yet known what type of cancer the London-born star suffered from, or how long he was secretly battling the illness.
Rickman, who was born into a working-class family in Hammersmith, began his acting career on the stage before graduating to Hollywood films.
He became one of the best-known villains in showbiz - appearing as Hans Gruber in Die Hard, the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Professor Snape in the Potter films.
The actor's other well-known films include Truly, Madly, Deeply, Sense and Sensibility and Love Actually, in which he played the husband of his frequent collaborator Emma Thompson, who was a close friend.
Thompson was among those paying tribute today, and implied she was with him hours before he died, saying: 'I have just kissed him goodbye.'
Radcliffe, who was mentored by Rickman during the filming of Potter, said he was one of the most loyal friends anyone could have in showbusiness.
In a heartfelt online message, the actor said: 'Alan Rickman is undoubtedly one of the greatest actors I will ever work with. He is also, one of the loyalest and most supportive people I've ever met in the film industry. Film sets and theatre stages are all far poorer for the loss of this great actor and man.'
Fame: Rickman was known to many as Professor Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films, released between 2001 and 2011
Couple: Rickman secretly married Rima Horton in 2012 after 35 years together (seen left in 2015, and right in 2007 with director Jude Kelly)
Recent sighting: Rickman (left) is seen backstage at the musical Hamilton in New York with its creator Lin-Manuel Miranda on November 19
Emma Watson, who played Hermione Granger in the Potter films, wrote on Facebook: 'I'm very sad to hear about Alan today.
'I feel so lucky to have worked and spent time with such a special man and actor. I'll really miss our conversations. RIP Alan. We love you.'
'GENEROUS, SELF-DEPRECATING AND FUNNY': DANIEL RADCLIFFE'S TOUCHING TRIBUTE TO RICKMAN
Matthew Lewis, who played Neville Longbottom in the movies, also mentioned Rickman's humility and willingness to spend time with his young co-stars.
'I was at Leavesden Studios today when I heard the news,' he said. 'As I walked through the canteen I thought of Alan queuing up for his lunch with us mere mortals.
'I recalled the trailer in which he offered me some of the greatest advice I ever received about this mad profession we shared. He inspired my career more than he ever knew and I'll miss him.'
Thompson called him a 'rare and unique human being' as she expressed her grief. 'Alan was my friend and so this is hard to write because I have just kissed him goodbye,' the actress said.
'What I remember most in this moment of painful leave-taking is his humour, intelligence, wisdom and kindness. His capacity to fell you with a look or lift you with a word. He was the ultimate ally.
'In life, art and politics. I trusted him absolutely. He was, above all things, a rare and unique human being and we shall not see his like again.'
Stephen Fry added: 'What desperately sad news about Alan Rickman. A man of such talent, wicked charm and stunning screen and stage presence. He'll be sorely missed.'
Referring to the Oscar nominations which were out today, actress Jamie Lee Curtis said that Rickman 'could have done every job on those movies'.
Several fans mentioned that Rickman's death came just a few days after that of singer David Bowie, who also died aged 69 after secretly fighting cancer.
Comedian Eddie Izzard said: 'I do not want my heroes to die! Alan Rickman is dead and he was another hero. Alan - thank you for being with us. We are sorry you had to go.'
Rickman's widow was seen returning to the couple's flat in West London this afternoon, carrying some of her husband's belonging, but was too upset to talk.
Neighbours said they had 'no idea' that Rickman was ill and described how he kept his usual upbeat demeanour in the weeks before his death.
One local said: 'Whenever I saw him in the street I always thought he looked very well. He was such a lovely man, I'm so sorry to hear about his death.'
Another added: 'He always smiled and said hello when I saw him. I saw him before Christmas and he looked normal. I had no idea about the cancer.'
Rickman was scheduled to give a talk at his old school, Latymer Upper in Hammersmith, later this month - suggesting that he may not have known how advanced his cancer was.
The actor's death comes shortly before the release of a new film called Eye In The Sky in which he stars alongside Dame Helen Mirren and Aaron Paul, due to open in Britain on April 8.
Dame Helen said: 'Alan was a towering person, physically, mentally and as an artist.
Villainous: Rickman played a series of screen baddies starting as Hans Gruber alongside Bruce WIllis in 1988's Die Hard, his first film role
Co-stars: Rickman in 1990's Truly, Madly Deeply with Juliette Stevenson, left; and in Eye in the Sky, which will be released later this year
'He was utterly distinctive, with a voice that could suggest honey or a hidden stiletto blade, and the profile of a Roman Emperor.
'He was also a great friend, generous and social. He will be very missed by many.'
Although he rarely gave details of his private life, he once described his wife as 'incredibly, unbelievably tolerant, possibly a candidate for sainthood'.
Miss Horton is a former Labour councillor in London, and the actor often joined the party on the campaign trail around the country.
Just last year, the star revealed he had married his long-term partner Miss Horton in a ceremony, half a century after they first meet as teenagers.
Talking about it, he said: 'It was great because no one was there. After the wedding in New York, we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and ate lunch.'
Mourning: A number of celebrities and public figures, including Harry Potter stars, paid tribute to Rickman following the news of his death
A number of Labour politicians shared tributes to the star today, including leader Jeremy Corbyn who said: 'Very sad to hear that Alan Rickman has passed away.
'One of the greatest actors of his generation. My thoughts are with his family and friends.'
Ex-leader Ed Miliband mourned the 'deeply principled' activist, while his brother David called Rickman 'a giant and a gent'.
Rickman, who had three siblings, was brought up by his mother Margaret after his father Bernard died when Alan was just eight.
They lived in Acton, West London, and the future star won a scholarship to Latymer Upper School before going to art school and then the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
After more than a decade of success on the stage and in television, Rickman made his film debut in 1988's Die Hard, instantly becoming one of Hollywood's top villains.
Rickman was a director as well as an actor - but he was unable to go behind the camera for almost two decades because of his duties on the Potter films.
Speaking after his film A Little Chaos, in which he played Louis XIV, he revealed that he had not expected to be tied up with the magical children's film for so long.
'I wasn't free until now because I started doing Harry Potter, and when I started there were only three books written so I didn't know I was going to be unable [to direct],' he said.
'Because if you're going to direct a film it's over a year of your life and I didn't have that. So once I had finished with that series of films I was free.'
He often spoke about the importance he attached to his craft, saying: '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.'
The best-loved villain in Hollywood: From the Sheriff of Nottingham to Professor Snape, Alan Rickman's dazzling career on stage and screen
By STEPH COCKROFT
Alan Rickman was one of the best-loved and most warmly admired British actors of the past 30 years.
The 69-year-old actor and director became a big screen name when he appeared to huge critical acclaim as Hans Gruber, Bruce Willis’s adversary, in Die Hard.
Throughout the illustrious career that followed, Rickman transcended both the romantic and the villainous, starring as some of cinema's best known baddies - including as the Sheriff of Nottingham - but also romantic, honourable characters such as Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility.
More recently, with his languid voice and sharp features, Rickman earned himself a new legion of fans as Professor Snape in the Harry Potter franchise, playing the boy wizard's nemesis who ultimately turned out to have his best interests at heart.
But by the time he starred in the first Harry Potter film in 2001, Rickman was already well-known for his darker roles.
Throughout his 30-year career, Rickman transcended both romantic and villainous characters, including Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, in which he played the Sheriff of Nottingham (pictured). The film was released in 1991
He picked up a Golden Globe Award and an Emmy Award for his leading role in 1995 film Rasputin while his turn as the outrageous sheriff in 1991's Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves - in which he stole the show from Kevin Costner - earned him a Bafta.
When he received the award, he said: 'I'll take this as a healthy reminder that subtlety... isn't everything.'
Born in Acton, London, in 1946 to a working class family, Rickman attended the nearby Derwentwater Primary School - a school that followed the Monterssori method of teaching - where he excelled in art, particularly watercolour.
He had an elder brother David, a younger brother Michael and a younger sister Sheila, who were all brought up by their mother following the premature death of their father Bernard, a factory worker, when Rickman was eight.
After primary school, Rickman won a scholarship to Latymer Upper School where he became involved in drama, before going on to study at the Chelsea College of Art and Design and the Royal College of Art.
After leaving the RCA, he began working as a graphic designer for the radical newspaper the Notting Hill Herald before opening a graphic design studio with two friends.
But, three years later, Rickman decided to pursue acting full time. He was awarded a place at the prestigious RADA school in London, leaving in 1974.
The actor and director became a big screen name when he appeared to huge critical acclaim as Hans Gruber, Bruce Willis’s sardonic adversary, in Die Hard in 1988 (pictured)
After he graduated, Rickman supported himself as a dresser before finding work with the Royal Shakespeare Company.
In 1982, British television audiences came to know Alan Rickman as the Reverend Obadiah Slope in the BBC's adaptation of Barchester Towers, known as the Barchester Chronicles.
He went on to establish himself as a compelling talent on stage, a medium to which he returned on several occasions during his career, before getting his breakthrough in 1986 - two years before he appeared in Die Hard - as Valmont in Christopher Hampton’s Les Liaisons Dangereuses.
He was nominated for a Tony award and the performance was an indication of his talent at playing the part of the villain.
His career went on to include a wide variety of roles, stemming from his success in Die Hard - a role he was offered at the age of 41 and later admitted he had not wanted to accept.
Despite his success as an on-screen villain, Rickman went on to prove that 'baddies' were not all he could turn his hand to.
As a leading man, he starred with Juliet Stevenson in supernatural romance Truly, Madly, Deeply, and he also attracted critical acclaim for his role as the honourable Colonel Brandon in Sense And Sensibility, opposite Emma Thompson.
His acting partnership with Thompson also led to roles in 2003's Love, Actually, in which they played husband and wife, and BBC drama The Song Of Lunch.
The actor played Harry in the 2003 film Love Actually, in which he falls for his attractive younger colleague Mia (played by Heike Makatsch)
In 1992, he was the 'master of ceremonies' on Mike Oldfield's album Tubular Bells II album before becoming known to the younger generation as potions master Severus Snape in Harry Potter.
EMMYS, BAFTAS AND GOLDEN GLOBES AMONG INCREDIBLE HAUL OF GONGS BUT NO OSCARS
Speaking about his role, he said: 'Everytime I put that costume on, something weird took over.'
Rickman also starred in the musical of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and spoofed his own persona in Galaxy Quest, a comedy which depicted stars of a 1970s sci-fi show who are making their money through re-runs being beamed aboard an alien spacecraft.
In 2002, he starred in Noel Coward’s Private Lives, which transferred to Broadway after a successful run in London.
In 2014, he directed and starred as French King Louis XIV alongside Kate Winslet - with whom he had also starred in Sense and Sensibility - in A Little Chaos.
It was the star’s second outing behind the camera, 18 years after he directed Thompson and her mother Phyllida Law in Scotland-based drama The Winter Guest.
Last year at the Scottish premiere of A Little Chaos, Rickman said he had no idea JK Rowling’s Harry Potter tale would stretch to six novels and seven films when he took the role of Snape in 2001.
'I wasn’t free until now because I started doing Harry Potter, and when I started there were only three books written so I didn’t know I was going to be unable (to direct),' he said.
'Because if you’re going to direct a film it’s over a year of your life and I didn’t have that.
'So once I had finished with that series of films I was free, and then along came this wonderful script.'
Rickman appeared as Sharleen Spiteri’s love interest in the music video for Texas’s 2000 hit In Demand and featured in the video for another single in 2015, this time also singing.
Rickman's career is set to continue with the release of Eye in the Sky - a thriller about drone warfare in which he stars alongside Helen Mirren and Aaron Paul - in April.
The star had also completed another film set for release later this year called Alice Through The Looking Glass, in which he plays the voiceover for the Blue Caterpillar.
The star had also completed another film set for release later this year called Alice Through The Looking Glass, in which he plays the caterpillar (pictured)
Rickman was also viewed by many as a movie heart-throb and, striking a blow for the more mature actor, he was ranked in seventh place in a sexiest actor list by Total Film magazine in 2013 at the age of 66, beating stars such as Brad Pitt and George Clooney.
In April 2012, he married Rima Horton, his partner of 50 years, whom he met when they were both teenagers.
The couple, who had been together since 1977, tied the knot in a secret ceremony in New York, but only revealed the news years later.
In an interview with Germany's Bild newspaper, he was asked what the secret to a successful relationship without getting married is and he surprisingly replied: 'We are married. Just recently. It was great, because no one was there.
The star had also completed another film set for release later this year called Alice Through The Looking Glass, in which he plays the voiceover for the Blue Caterpillar (pictured)
'After the wedding in New York we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and ate lunch.'
Rima, an economist who lectured at Kingston-upon-Thames University, was a Labour party councillor for the Kensington and Chelsea London Borough Council from 1986 to 2006. They had no children.
In his spare time, Rickman supported many charities and was an active patron of the charity Saving Faces.
He was also an honorary president of the International Performers' Aid Trust, a charity that alleviates poverty in some of the world's toughest conditions.
When talking about politics, Rickman has said he 'was born a card-carrying member of the Labour Party'.
Though he never won an Oscar, Rickman did not view it as a snub. 'Parts win prizes, not actors.' he told US television network IFC in 2008.
'There are no words to express how shocked and devastated I am': J.K. Rowling shares her grief as she leads celebrity tributes
By BECKY FREETH
J.K. Rowling paid a poignant tribute to Harry Potter actor Alan Rickman on Thursday afternoon, following the sudden news that he had passed away from cancer, aged 69.
With so many complimentary things to say about him, there was a significant outpouring of grief from fellow stars on social media but a dedication from the author particularly stood out.
Reflecting on her time working with Rickman, who starred as children's book character Professor Severus Snape in the film franchise for 10 years, the 50-year-old said there were 'no words' to express her devastation.
She said on Twitter: 'There are no words to express how shocked and devastated I am to hear of Alan Rickman's death. He was a magnificent actor & a wonderful man.'
There are no words: Author of Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling penned a poignant tribute to Alan on social media
Sadness: Co-star Emma Watson also expressed her grief about the death of the popular actor
His own tribute: Harry Potter fan Louis Smith collected all of his film franchise bits together as a tribute
Fifty Shades Of Grey author EL James echoed the sentiments, adding: 'RIP Alan Rickman. You will be missed. #TrulyMadlyDeeply'
The loss hit the Harry Potter community noticeably hard and they took to social media in their droves, sharing their deep appreciation for Rickman's 10-year part as Snape.
Chris Rankin, who played Percy Weasley, wrote of the loss: 'Just had awful news of Alan Rickman's death. Utterly devastated. Nothing more to say at this time.'
James Phelps, who played Fred Weasley, wrote: 'Shocked & sad to hear Alan Rickman has passed away. One of the nicest actors I've ever met. Thoughts and prayers with his family at this time.'
Musician Boy George, a closet fan of the book-to-film series, said: 'Goodbye Alan Rickman. You were genius in Harry Potter.'
Devastating: Fifty Shades Of Grey writer EL James also penned a tribute
Devastated: Jamie Campbell Bower thanked Alan for his support on the star's first ever film
Young stars: Young actor Alan Rickman used social media to share his sadness
Young at heart: McFly's Tom Fletcher said he too had experienced a lot of sadness this week with a second death
Gymnast Louis Smith also shared a picture of his film franchise merchandise collection with the caption: 'My Harry Potter tribute in memory of Alan Rickman'
Actors influenced by his broad talent including Richard Madden and Jamie Campbell Bower were keen to express their sadness and were among those feeling the strongest loss this week.
Jamie Campbell Bower said: 'Devastated to hear about the passing of Alan Rickman. I had the pleasure of working with him on my first movie. A true legend and gentleman.'
Jamie starred alongside Alan in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, which was filmed in 2007 and marked the start of Jamie's own Hollywood career.
Fellow young actor Will Poulter lamented the loss, having never got to work with the big name star: 'Rest In Peace Alan Rickman. Such sad news. A huge loss.' he said.
He did such brilliant work: David Schneider was quick to compliment the star's work
A sad week: Earlier this week, music fans marked the passing of icon David Bowie
Genuine: Gary Kemp had genuine words about the way that the actor worked and how he was as a person
Similarly, Pride And Prejudice And Zombies actor Douglas Booth said of his influence: 'Devastated to hear of Alan Rickman's passing. This week Britain has lost two of it's (sic) greats, far too young.'
Cinderella actor Richard Madden then Tweeted: 'Dreadful to hear Alan Rickman has passed away. A wonderful actor and friend. What a sad day.'
Just two years ago, the acting pair had shared the screen with A Promise and evidently remained close friends.
English actor David Schneider also added: 'He did so much brilliant work but Alan Rickman in Galaxy Quest: one of the greatest comedy performances ever. RIP'
Admirers of his screen presence like comedian Stephen Fry similarly felt the need to express his condolences via social media.
Fry added: 'What desperately sad news about Alan Rickman. A man of such talent, wicked charm & stunning screen & stage presence. He'll be sorely missed'
Touching hearts: Ed Miliband was sharing his own words and sending his love to Alan's family
Sending well wishings: Jeremy Corbyn sent his best wishes to Alan's family
Others sent their well wishings to Alan's family as the star leaves behind long-term partner Rima Horton.
Ed Miliband said: 'Really sad to hear about Alan Rickman. Brilliant actor, deeply principled man. My heart goes out to Rima and his family.'
Jeremy Corbyn echoed the former Labour leader's sentiments, by adding: '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'
Bianca Jagger said: 'Deeply saddened to learn of the loss of one of Britain's best-loved actors Alan Rickman. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.'
Other referenced their sadness that Alan's death had been announced in the same week - and of the same cause - as music icon David Bowie.
Shock: It fell in a week where the world suffered the loss of David Bowie, too
Gifted: Michael Ball lamented the horrible week in showbusiness
Thinking of the family: Bianca Jagger sent her thoughts and prayers to the family
Eddie Izzard lamented: 'I do not want my heroes to die! Alan Rickman is dead & he was another hero. Alan - thank you for being with us. We are sorry you had to go'
Musician Gary Kemp went on: 'Oh no. Alan Rickman was not only an amazing, forensically good actor, but a lovely, genuine man to know. A week where Giants leave us.'
A saddened Jo Whiley also added: 'And now Alan Rickman? Seriously? Another of my favourite men. Gah'
McFly singer Tom Fletcher said: 'So sad to hear that we've lost Alan Rickman. What a brilliantly talented man. Countless amazing performances. What a sad week.'
Singer Alison Moyet started her tribute writing: 'All the beauty we have lost this week. There was never justice.' She ended her Twitter message writing: 'Goodbye Alan Rickman. We shall miss you.'
Michael Ball: 'And now we have lost Alan Rickman. A gifted actor and lovely man. What a week. #RIPAlanRickman'
Alan Rickman's final scenes: Fans will get the chance to watch the actor in two more films made before his death that will be released this year
Moviegoers will get the chance to watch Alan Rickman's final appearance on the big screen later this year in two yet to be released films the Harry Potter and Robin Hood star made before his death.
The 69-year-old passed away in hospital this morning, surrounded by relatives and friends, following a secret battle with cancer.
His death comes just months ahead of the release of a new film called Eye In The Sky in which he stars alongside Dame Helen Mirren and Aaron Paul.
The thriller, about the ethics of drone warfare, is set to open in UK cinemas on April 8, according to IMDb. Rickman had also completed another film due for release later this year in which he voices a computer-generated character.
Onscreen: Rickman's character helps to oversee a counter-terror mission which is complicated when a young girl is seen next to a group of terrorists being targeted by a bombing raid. The thriller stars Dame Helen Mirren
The actor is voicing Absolem the Caterpillar in Alice Through The Looking Glass, an adaptation of the Lewis Carroll book which is a sequel to 2010's Alice in Wonderland.
His computer-generated character talks to Alice during her surreal quests. Johnny Depp and Mia Wasikowska (Alice) reprise their roles in the sequel, which is due out in the UK and US on May 27.
Depp plays the Mad Hatter, Anne Hathaway the White Queen and Helena Bonham Carter the Red Queen. Sacha Baron Cohen, Rhys Ifans and Matt Lucas also star, while Stephen Fry and Timothy Spall voice characters.
In Eye In The Sky, Rickman plays a senior military official helping to oversee a counter-terror mission which is complicated when a young girl is seen next to a group of terrorists being targeted by a bombing raid.
His co-star Mirren stars as Colonel Katherine Powell, who is in command of the top secret drone operation in Kenya. Remote surveillance and on-the-ground intelligence leads her to discover the targets are planning a suicide bombing, a development which escalates the mission from 'capture' to 'kill'.
But it is at this point that the nine-year-old girl enters the kill zone, just as American pilot Steve Watts, played by Aaron Paul, is about to engage.
According to a synopsis on IMDb, the complication sparks an international dispute at the highest levels of US and British government about the moral, political and personal implications of modern warfare.
The thriller, about the ethics of drone warfare, is set to open in UK cinemas on April 8, according to IMDb
Rickman revealed last year that he had secretly married his long-term partner Rima Horton, whom he had been in a relationship with since 1977, in a New York ceremony in 2012.
His family said in a statement today: 'The actor and director Alan Rickman has died from cancer at the age of 69. He was surrounded by family and friends.'
Rickman's brother David, 71, added: 'He passed away this morning. He was in a hospital at the time.'
The actor, who was born into a working-class family in London, began his career on the stage before graduating to Hollywood films.
He became one of the best-known villains in showbiz - appearing as Hans Gruber in Die Hard, the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Professor Snape in the Harry Potter films.
The actor's other well-known films include Truly, Madly, Deeply, Sense and Sensibility and Love Actually, in which he played the husband of his frequent collaborator Emma Thompson.
FROM DIE HARD TO LOVE ACTUALLY, AND ROBIN HOOD TO HARRY POTTER: RICKMAN LAUDED FOR KEY FILM ROLES
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