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Alan Rickman, who played the villain in Die Hard and Snape in the Harry Potter movies, has died at the age of 69.

Tristan Fewings/Getty Images

The death of the veteran British actor, a scene-stealer in almost every movie he was in, was confirmed by his family on Thursday. He reportedly had been struggling with cancer.

Due to the enormous popularity of the Harry Potter movies, it’s inevitable that Rickman will be best remembered for his performance as Severus Snape, a character that showcased his ability to be both a sinister villain and an empathetic figure. But what was most telling about Rickman was his ability to make even awfully written characters come to life with verve and humor, the best example of which might be his turn as the Sheriff of Nottingham in 1991’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. The role was so unforgettable for me that when, earlier this month, Chris Christie said Hillary Clinton would cut Marco Rubio’s heart out, I mentally added, “with a spoon.” R.I.P., Alan Rickman.