Alan Rickman’s death — He kept his illness secret

Alan Rickman

Alan Rickman was one of Britain’s beloved actors and directors. His deep voice mesmerized stage audiences as Rickman made his name playing Vicomte de Valmont in a 1985 production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses. His portrayal of Vicomte on the West End and Broadway earned him a Tony Award nomination. 

Rickman achieved global fame playing Bruce Willis’ adversary, a German terrorist leader named Hans Gruber, in 1988’s Die Hard. Alan then landed the role of the complicated Severus Snape in the Harry Potter franchise. 

His last role came in the 2015 film Eye in the Sky. Alan Rickman passed away on 14th January 2016.

Alan kept his pancreatic cancer diagnosis a secret from the world

Alan Rickman’s death due to pancreatic cancer surprised people as he’d kept the diagnosis secret. Rickman learned he had cancer in August 2015 following a minor stroke. 

Pancreatic cancer is sometimes referred to as a ‘silent cancer’ as it takes time to present symptoms and is often discovered through luck. 

Rickman informed close friends and family of the diagnosis but largely kept the news of his cancer secret. He went about his work as usual, with most of the castmates in his final films – Eye in the Sky and Alice Through the Looking Glass – finding out about the disease after it killed him. 

Alan had planned to appear in The Limehouse Golem, but he backed out due to his rapidly declining health. The three films were dedicated to the beloved actor. 

Rickman’s family announced that he passed away surrounded by family and friends. Tributes poured in from fans and cast and crew members from his numerous productions. Most people expressed shock at the news of the passing as few knew about Alan’s cancer.

“There are no words to express how shocked and devastated I am to hear of Alan Rickman’s death,” JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, said. “He was a magnificent actor & a wonderful man.”

Emma Thompson, a frequent collaborator with Alan, wrote a lengthy tribute to the deceased star. She praised his intelligence, humor, wisdom, and artistry. Emma wrote:

“I learned a lot from him. He was the finest of actors and directors. I couldn’t wait to see what he was going to do with his face next. I consider myself hugely privileged to have worked with him so many times and to have been directed by him. I trusted him absolutely.”

Rickman was praised for his warmth and generosity

Like Emma, many people cited Rickman as an exceptional human being. “He was, above all things, a rare and unique human being and we shall not see his like again,” Thompson said

Rickman was exceedingly generous, primarily due to the massive payout from his role in Harry Porter. “He was always a great big softy,” Kate said. “He was so kind.”

Winslet said that whenever anyone would go out with Alan, he would secretly find a way to pay the bill. Kate explained:

“He would somehow have phoned ahead or slipped his credit card ahead of the meal so no one even got a look at the check. He’d just say, ‘I’ve got two words for you: Harry Potter.’ And he became known for doing that.”

Rickman was one of the few people who knew the future of his character on Harry Porter. Alan asked author JK Rowling about Snape’s trajectory so he could decide whether to carry on with the role. Rickman allegedly knew more about his role than director Chris Columbus!

Alan Rickman in Harry Potter
Alan Rickman as Professor Severus Snape In Harry Potter | Warner Bros. Pictures

“[Alan Rickman] is . . . one of the loyalest and most supportive people I’ve ever met in the film industry,” Daniel Radcliffe, star of Harry Potter, wrote on Facebook. “He was so encouraging of me both on set and in the years post-Potter. I’m pretty sure he came and saw everything I ever did on stage both in London and New York. He didn’t have to do that.”

Rickman’s 27 volumes of diaries will be released as one book in autumn 2022

Alan Rickman wrote 27 volumes of diaries filled with ‘witty, gossipy and utterly candid’ thoughts. He started writing the diaries in the early 90s, intending to publish them one day. 

“The diaries reveal not just Alan Rickman the actor, but the real Alan – his sense of humour, his sharp observation, his craftsmanship and his devotion to the arts,” Rima Horton, Rickman’s widow, told The Guardian.

Alan Taylor will edit The Diaries of Alan Rickman. “I’m delighted that Canongate will be publishing Alan’s diaries, and couldn’t have wished for a finer appointment of editor than Alan Taylor,” Rima said. 

“More than anything though, the diaries reveal the real Alan Rickman, funny, passionate, occasionally provocative, and give fresh insight into his art,” Canongate said. 

Canongate will release The Diaries of Alan Rickman in autumn 2022.