British actor Alan Rickman, star of Harry Potter films, dies at 69

( Agencies ) Updated: 2016-01-15 09:02:03

British actor Alan Rickman, star of <EM>Harry Potter</EM> films, dies at 69

Director Alan Rickman arrives for the A Little Chaos gala during the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in Toronto, in this September 13, 2014 file photo. [Photo/Agencies]

British actor Alan Rickman, whose roles ranged from Hollywood villains to Professor Snape in the Harry Potter films, has died after a battle with cancer aged 69.

With his aquiline features and cultured - if often menacing - English accent, he became one of Britain's best-known actors of stage and screen over the last 30 years with a career stretching from the Royal Shakespeare Company to sci-fi spoof Galaxy Quest.

His family said he had died surrounded by family and friends.

"Alan was my friend and so this is hard to write because I have just kissed him goodbye," said British actress Emma Thompson who appeared with Rickman in a number of films including Love Actually.

"He was the finest of actors and directors. I couldn't wait to see what he was going to do with his face next," she said in a statement. "He was above all things a rare and unique human being and we shall not see his like again."

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