Acclaimed actor Alan Rickman has died at 69. The British star has been lauded over his three-decade career, and most notably as Professor Snape in the Harry Potter series.

Playing a villain with an incredibly distinct voice was nothing new to Rickman. Before he was introduced to a new generation of fans in Harry Potter, he played Hans Gruber, Bruce Willis’ notorious nemesis, in Die Hard in 1988. And although he played bad so well, he was never pigeonholed. Rickman also starred in the holiday romantic comedy, Love, Actually.

His impact was certainly left on his Harry Potter co-stars, and the lessons he taught. “Actors are agents of change,” he said. “A film, a piece of theatre, a piece of music, or a book can make a difference. It can change the world.”

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling tweeted her condolences.

Emma Watson shared a sweet Facebook tribute.

Radcliffe shared a touching tribute with fans on Google +.

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. 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. I know other people who’ve been friends with him for much much longer than I have and they all say “if you call Alan, it doesn’t matter where in the world he is or how busy he is with what he’s doing, he’ll get back to you within a day”.

People create perceptions of actors based on the parts they played so it might surprise some people to learn that contrary to some of the sterner(or downright scary) characters he played, Alan was extremely kind, generous, self-deprecating and funny. And certain things obviously became even funnier when delivered in his unmistakable double-bass.

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.

Rickman was battling cancer before his death on Thursday, Jan. 14. He’s survived by his wife, Rima Horton, after a 40-year romance.

SOURCE: The Guardian | PHOTO: Getty