Alan Rickman on the red carpet at the UK premiere of A Little Chaos
Alan Rickman at the UK premiere of 'A Little Chaos', his second outing as a director. Chris Jackson / Staff/ Getty Images.

Beloved actor of stage and screen Alan Rickman has passed away, aged 69.

Famous to Harry Potter fans the world over as Severus Snape, the caustic and complicated Potions master of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the British actor had an illustrious career spanning 30 years.

Rickman brought a unique quality to everything he did, from his memorable turn as Hans Gruber in Die Hard, to the dearly departed Jamie in Truly, Madly, Deeply and appearances in Sense and Sensibility and Love, Actually. He even sang his heart out in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. But that distinctive voice was perhaps at its best when delivering a withering put-down.

J.K. Rowling 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.’

Fellow Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe also posted a touching tribute online. He said: ‘Alan Rickman is undoubtedly one of the greatest actors I will ever work with. He is also one of the most supportive people I’ve ever met in the film industry.

‘He was so encouraging of me both on set and in the years post-Potter. I’m pretty sure he came and saw everything I ever did on stage both in London and New York. He didn’t have to do that.

‘As an actor he was one of the first of the adults on Potter to treat me like a peer rather than a child. Working with him at such a formative age was incredibly important and I will carry the lessons he taught me for the rest of my life and career. Film sets and theatre stages are all far poorer for the loss of this great actor and man.’

Snape was one of J.K. Rowling’s most intriguing creations: hard to pin down, full of contradictions. There was only one actor who could encapsulate such a unique character.

Pottermore will remember Alan Rickman. Always.

Alan Rickman
Alan Rickman. Cambridge Jones / Contributor/Getty Images.