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Legendary British actor Alan Rickman dies at 69

London: Beloved English actor Alan Rickman, best known to Indian fans for his role of Professor Severus Snape in the 'Harry Potter' series, has died in London at the age of 69 following a battle with cancer. 

Rickman's death was confirmed by his family, reported the Guardian newspaper.

Also read: 'Harry Potter' cast pays heartfelt tribute to Alan Rickman

Alan Rickman. Pic/AFPAlan Rickman. Pic/AFP

The actor, whose distinctive voice was instantly recognised by his fans, first shot to global fame in 1988, when he starred as Hans Gruber, the villain opposite Bruce Willis in "Die Hard".

His other negative roles include the Sheriff of Nottingham in 1991's "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves", as well as a terrifying Rasputin in 1995 HBO film. His other notable roles include Jamie in 'Truly, Madly, Deeply', Colonel Brandon in Ang Lee's 'Sense and Sensibility' and Harry in 'Love, Actually', among others.

He won a BAFTA Award for 'Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves' and a Golden Globe, Emmy and Screen Actors Guild Award for his portrayal of Rasputin in 'Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny'.

He made his directorial debut with "The Winter Guest" with his "Sense and Sensibility" star Emma Thompson. He also reunited with Kate Winslet, the other star of the movie, in last year's "A Little Chaos".

But the role that brought him legions of young fans was of Snape, the misunderstood professor whose love for Harry's mother Lily is revealed only later in J K Rowling's novels. His death comes shortly after the passing away of another British icon, musician David Bowie, who, ironically, also lost his life to cancer and at the age of 69.

Alan Rickman as Severus Snape
Alan Rickman as Professor Severus Snape 

Born February 21, 1946 in a working class family, Alan Sidney Patrick Rickman became interested in drama while attending upper school and trained in art and graphic design before securing a place at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 1972 where he honed his talent.

His first major role was as the impetuous Tybalt in a BBC TV adapation of "Romeo and Juliet" (1978) but came to viewers' attention with his brief appearance in the BBC adaptation of John le Carre's "Smiley's People" (1982) with Alec Guinness and then as the odious, smarmy Reverend Obadiah Slope in the channel adaptation of Anthony Trollope's ecclesiastical series "Barchesters Towers" (1982).

A recipient of the BAFTA, Golden Globe, Emmy and Screen Actors Guild Awards, he is survived by his spouse Rima Horton with whom he had been living together since 1977 and married in 2012.

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