Rickman, a veteran of British theater and internationally famous for his role as Severus Snape in the Harry Potter series, has died at 69. He had been diagnosed with cancer only a short time ago, according to CNN

"The actor and director Alan Rickman has died from cancer at the age of 69. He was surrounded by family and friends," Rickman's family said in a statement, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Rickman, a Golden Globe and BAFTA-winner, got his first big break as Hans Gruber in 1988's Die Hard, and also appeared in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Dogma and RasputinRickman was cast as Gruber after being in Los Angeles for only two days, and told The Guardian in 2015 that he nearly turned down the role.

"What the hell is this? I’m not doing an action movie," he recalled thinking, but said the script ultimately convinced him. "Every single black character in that film is positive and highly intelligent. So, 28 years ago, that’s quite revolutionary, and quietly so."

Fans of Rickman will still have the chance to see him in two upcoming projects: The film Eye In The Skywhich stars the actor as Lieutenant General Frank Benson, will chronicle secret drone operations in Kenya, and will be released in March. Rickman will also voice the Blue Caterpillar in Alice Through The Looking Glasswhich is set for a May release.

Do you have a favorite Alan Rickman moment from Harry Potter or beyond? Share it in the comments.

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