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British Actor Alan Rickman Dies at 69

FILE - Actor Alan Rickman attends a tribute to actor Jeremy Irons as part of the 14th Marrakech International Film Festival in Morocco.

One of Britain's best loved actors, Alan Rickman, a star of stage and screen, has died. He was 69.

His family said in a statement Thursday that the cause of his death was cancer.

Rickman was born in 1946 to a working-class family in London and trained at the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

He went on to become one of Britain's best-known actors with a career stretching over the last 30 years. In 1995, he received both an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe for his role as the mad monk in the HBO film Rasputin.

Rickman's breakout debut was onstage with the Royal Shakespeare Company in the 1985 production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses.

From there he went on to act on screen in a variety of roles, often cast as the villain in such films as Die Hard, and the Harry Potter series where he gained legions of newer fans for his portrayal of dark arts professor Severus Snape.

Recent film roles include Ronald Reagan in Lee Daniel's The Butler and the voice of the Blue Caterpillar in the sequel to Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland due out this year.

Daniel Radcliff, Rickman's co-star in the Harry Potter series, described him as being "extremely kind," "funny" and "generous."

"Alan Rickman is undoubtedly one of the greatest actors I will ever work with," Radcliff said in a statement posted online. "He is also one of the loyalest and most supportive people I've ever met in the film industry."