Stage and screen actor Alan Rickman has died after a short battle with cancer.

Tributes have poured in from the acting world following the shock announcement of Alan Rickman’s death from cancer.

Emma Thompson, who had worked with Rickman on Sense and Sensibility, Love Actually and The Winter Guest spoke of her immense sadness, having “just kissed him goodbye”. She said “What I remember most in this moment of painful leave-taking is his humour, intelligence, wisdom and kindness. His capacity to fell you with a look or lift you with a word.” Thompson continued “I couldn’t wait to see what he was going to do with his face next… He was the ultimate ally. He was above all things, a rare and unique human being and we shall not see his like again.”

Daniel Radcliffe with whom the actor worked on the Harry Potter films wrote that Rickman was “one of the greatest actors I will ever work with” as well as “one of the loyalist and most supportive people I’ve ever met in the film industry”.

Kate Winslet said that, aged 19, she had initially been intimidated by Rickman before realising he was “an exceptionally warm and giving man and an utterly phenomenal actor and gifted director. And that voice! Oh, that voice… We are all so devastated to lose Alan”.

Sigourney Weaver, Rickman’s co-star in 1999 comedy Galaxy Quest and 2006 drama Snow Cake, cited the play say “he used his talent always to make a difference, his production of Rachel Corrie being one of the most powerful examples. Alans enormous strength of character infused every character he played… who else could have brought such pain and wit to Snape? I can’t believe he’s gone.”

His close friend Ruby Wax said that when she saw him on stage, “he was the most charismatic, sexiest thing I’d ever see”. Wax, whose stand-up shows were directed by Rickman for 20 years said “he had brilliant comic timing. He’d say my lines and I would weep with laughing. But he could also play dry: the eyes would go slit-like and he’d deliver unbelievable lines”.

Rickman who shot to fame following his performance in the RSC’s critically acclaimed production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses will be widely remembered for his performances as Severus Snape in Harry Potter, Hans Gruber in Die Hard and the Sherriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves for which he won a BAFTA.

Rickman’s other film roles included Truly, Madly, Deeply, Sense and Sensibility, Love Actually, Galaxy Quest, and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

After graduating from RADA Rickman worked extensively in British theatre performing in both modern and classical productions including Chekhov’s The Seagull and Snoo Wilson’s The Grass Widow at the Royal Court Theatre, Antony and Cleopatra opposite Helen Mirren at the National and Les Liaisons Dangereuses and As You Like it at the RSC. His Broadway theatre credits include Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Private Lives and Seminar.

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