Stage and screen actor Alan Rickman has died, aged 69.
Most recently known for his role as Severus Snape in the Harry Potter film series, Rickman was reportedly suffering from cancer and died surrounded by family in London.
He enjoyed a long career in film, television and on stage, beginning with the BBC Television Shakespeare version of Romeo and Juliet, in which he played Tybalt. His major Hollywood breakthrough was as villain Hans Gruber in Die Hard, and led to numerous other big roles, including the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Colonol Brandon in Sense and Sensibility.
His stage presence was as resounding as his screen presence; in 2005 he wrote and staged My Name is Rachel Corrie, a production based on the diaries and emails of the titular American activist killed in Gaza. The play was met with widespread acclaim.
Thousands have taken to Twitter to express their sadness at the news, including Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, who tweeted: ‘There are no words to express how shocked and devastated I am to hear of Alan Rickman’s death. He was a magnificant actor and a wonderful man.’