British actor Alan Rickman dies aged 69

British actor Alan Rickman has died at the age of 69 following a battle with cancer.

ITV News correspondent Nina Nannar reports:

The star appeared in numerous hit films across several decades, including as Professor Snape in the Harry Potter films and the villain Hans Gruber in the original Die Hard film.

Rickman's family confirmed the news on Thursday. He had been suffering from cancer before his death.

A family statement said: "The actor and director Alan Rickman has died from cancer at the age of 69. He was surrounded by family and friends."

Rickman attended Latymer Upper School and studied Graphic Design at Chelsea College of Art and Design, where he met Rima Horton, who he married in 2012 after 50 years together.

His death comes just months ahead of the release of a new film called Eye In The Sky, in which he stars alongside Helen Mirren and Aaron Paul. He had also completed another film set for release later this year, Alice Through The Looking Glass.

Rickman starred with Dame Helen Mirren in 1998 in Anthony and Cleopatra, at the Olivier Theatre on London's South Bank. Credit: PA
  • Key moments from a long and distinguished career

Born in Acton, west London, the much-loved actor first shot to stardom in 1988 as Bruce Willis's adversary in Die Hard.

He gained legions of fans for his role as Professor Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films.

He also starred alongside Juliet Stevenson in 1990's Truly Madly Deeply and played the Sheriff of Nottingham in 1991's Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves alongside Kevin Costner, for which he won a Bafta.

Although often the villain, Rickman starred in a wide-range of films, showing off his comedic abilities in movies including Dogma, Galaxy Quest and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Other films included Love Actually, Sense and Sensibility and Sweeney Todd.

Rickman was also a star of the stage, appearing in Broadway shows such as Seminar and Les Liaisons Dangereuses, for which he earned a Tony Award nomination.

Recently, he directed and starred as French King Louis XIV alongside Kate Winslet in A Little Chaos, 18 years after he directed Emma Thompson in Scotland-based drama The Winter Guest.

  • Tributes flood in for much-loved actor

News of Rickman's death triggered an instant outpouring of tributes on social media from people from all walks of life including 'Harry Potter' author J.K. Rowling.

Read: Co-stars and friends pay tribute to Alan Rickman

Rickman with Rima Horton, who he married in 2012. Credit: PA