Alan Rickman Is Dead At 69 & The World Has Lost A Truly Phenomenal Actor

As a fan of older actors, there are some people that you spend at least part of your time hoping to never hear crop up in the news as a passing, but that's exactly what's happened to me on Thursday morning. Alan Rickman has passed away, the actor famed for such broad and varied roles as Harry in Love, Actually and, of course, Professor Severus Snape in all eight Harry Potter movies. The Guardian reports that the actor had been suffering from cancer, and his death from the disease comes only four days after iconic British singer David Bowie passed away from the same cause. The news was confirmed on Thursday by Rickman's family.

Rickman's career spanned almost 30 years, from his first role as Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet in 1978 to his final voice acting role as Absolem the Caterpillar in Alice Through The Looking Glass, a film which comes out in 2016 but is post-production. The number of lives he's touched with his phenomenal acting talent, his incredibly recognizable voice, and his ability to transform himself onscreen from a cheating husband to an angel to a potions master is something that very few other performers can replicate. The pain that the world will be feeling will be immense and cross all generations — since many of us Harry Potter fans grew up with Rickman as Snape.

My inner child in particular is sobbing, because, though Snape was far from my favorite character in the series, Rickman brought such a great depth and nuance to his every word and action that, by the end, not even I could tell if he was wholly heroic or wholly villainous. Reading the books was one thing, but, through Rickman's complete embodiment of the character, I saw shades of him that I didn't see or didn't want to see in J.K. Rowling's text alone. And that's the kind of color and passion that Rickman brought to every role that he ever undertook, whether dramatic or comedic.

“Actors are agents of change,” Rickman is quoted as saying in The Guardian article. “A film, a piece of theatre, a piece of music, or a book can make a difference. It can change the world.” Well, let me be the first to say that Rickman is not just an agent of change. He himself has changed the world. He has changed my world. And he will be missed.