J.K. Rowling Leads Tributes to 'Harry Potter' Actor Alan Rickman After He Dies At 69

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British actor Alan Rickman, whose illustrious career included the role of Snape in the Harry Potter films, has died. He was 69.

Rickman's family said on Thursday that the beloved actor had passed away after a battle with cancer.

"He was surrounded by family and friends," they said in a statement.

The actor leaves behind his wife, 68-year-old Rima Horton, whom he married in 2012 after 40 years together. The couple first met when they were 19.

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Rickman got his start on the stage and earned a Tony nomination for "Les Liaisons Dangereuses" in 1988. He went on to star in movies including Die Hard and Love Actually.

Following the news of his death on Thursday morning, fans and fellow actors flocked to Twitter to pay tribute to the actor. Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling also shared her sadness.

James Phelps, who played Fred Weasley in the Harry Potter movies, wrote: "One of the nicest actors I've ever met. Thoughts and prayers with his family at this time."

Actor and comedian Eddie Izzard added: "I do not want my heroes to die! Alan Rickman is dead & he was another hero. Alan - thank you for being with us. We are sorry you had to go."

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