Alan Rickman's rep has confirmed that the man who brought Harry Potter's Professor Snape to life on the silver scream has passed away at age 69.

Rickman was best known for his breakthrough role as terrorist Hans Gruber in 1988's Die Hard alongside Bruce Willis, and as the Harry Potter villain throughout the course of the series.  You may also remember him from Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves, Sweeney Todd and Love Actually.

His death comes as a surprise to fans who didn't know that Rickman had been ill.  According to his rep, the British actor passed away from cancer, but the type of cancer has not been disclosed.