English actor Alan Rickman, best known to Indian fans for his role of Professor Severus Snape in the "Harry Potter" series, has died here at the age of 69 following a battle with cancer.
Rickman's death was confirmed by his family, reported The Guardian newspaper.
The actor, whose distinctive voice was instantly recognised by his fans, first shot to global fame in 1988, when he starred as Hans Gruber, the villain opposite Bruce Willis in "Die Hard".
His other negative roles include the sheriff of Nottingham in 1991's "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves", as well as a terrifying Rasputin in 1995 HBO film.
His other notable roles include "Truly, Madly, Deeply", "Sense and Sensibility", "Love, Actually" and the "The Song of Lunch".
He made his directorial debut with "The Winter Guest" with his "Sense and Sensibility" star Emma Thompson. He also reunited with Kate Winslet, the other star of the movie, in last year's "A Little Chaos".
But the role that brought him legions of young fans was of Snape, the misunderstood professor whose love for Harry's mother Lily is revealed only later in J K Rowling's novels.
His death comes shortly after the passing away of another British icon, musician David Bowie, who, ironically, also lost his life to cancer and at the age of 69.