Alan Rickman waves as he arrives for the premiere of the film "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" in New York, July 11, 2011. Reuters/Lucas Jackson

The cast of the “Harry Potter” films and author J.K. Rowling, were among the first to pay tribute to late Alan Rickman, who passed at the age of 69 surrounded by his family and friends. He was suffering from cancer.

Rickman was best remembered for his roles as Professor Severus Snape in the “Harry Potter” films and Hans Gruber in “Die Hard.”

“There are no words to express how shocked and devastated I am to hear of Alan Rickman's death. He was a magnificent actor & a wonderful man,” Rowling said on her Twitter feed while paying tribute to the late actor.

“We have all lost a great talent” and Rickman’s family had “lost part of their hearts,” she added.

The titular star of the “Harry Potter” films Daniel Radcliffe wrote a heartfelt tribute to his late co-star on his Facebook page: “Alan Rickman is undoubtedly one of the greatest actors I will ever work with. He is also, one of the loyalest and most supportive people I've ever met in the film industry.”

“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,” he added.

Radcliffe also talked about how Rickman inspired him as an actor on the sets of the “Harry Potter” films. "As an actor he was one of the first of the adults on Potter to treat me like a peer rather than a child," he said. "Working with him at such a formative age was incredibly important and I will carry the lessons he taught me for the rest of my life and career.”

He added that film sets and theatre stages are now “far poorer for the loss of this great actor and man.”

Emma Watson, who portrayed the role of Hermione Granger in the “Harry Potter” films, said on her Facebook page: “ I'm very sad to hear about Alan today. I feel so lucky to have worked and spent time with such a special man and actor. I'll really miss our conversations. RIP Alan. We love you.”

Rupert Grint, who portrayed Ron Weasley in the "Harry Potter" film series, issued a beautiful and poignant statement to JustJared.com: "I am devastated to hear about the passing of Alan Rickman, I feel so privileged to have had the opportunity to work with him on numerous occasions. Even though he has gone -- I will always hear his voice. My thoughts are with his friends and family at this time."

Other co-stars of the “Harry Potter” movies also expressed sadness and loss through social media.

Matthew Lewis, who played bumbling but heroic Neville Longbottom in all the eight "Harry Potter films," posted on his Instagram profile: "I was at Leavesden Studios today when I heard the news. As I walked through the canteen I thought of Alan queuing up for his lunch with us mere mortals.”

He reminisced the days he spent filming “Harry Potter” with Rickman. “I recalled the trailer in which he offered me some of the greatest advice I ever received about this mad profession we shared," he said. "Being back in those corridors made me remember a lot of things and I will treasure those memories all my life. He inspired my career more than he ever knew and I'll miss him.”

Evanna Lynch, who played Luna Lovegood, could not accept that Rickman was no more: “Am not prepared for a world without Alan Rickman. Such a beautiful soul. He was so kind & generous in the moments he wasn't Snaping about.”

She added: “I'll also never forget how scary it was to accidentally bump into him as Snape. And how he made us love Snape so much! ❤ Rest in peace, Alan.”

Actor Oliver Phelps, who played George Weasley, also paid his tributes to the late Rickman. “Terribly sad news about the passing of Alan Rickman. A funny and engaging person who put a shy young actor at ease when I was on HP,” he said.

“Shocked & sad to hear Alan Rickman has passed away. One of the nicest actors I've ever met.Thoughts and prayers with his family at this time,” Oliver's brother James Phelps, who portrayed Fred Weasley in the "Harry Potter" films, said.

Michael Gambon, who played Dumbledore, said, “Everybody loved Alan. He was always happy and fun and creative and very, very funny.”

The most touching words perhaps came from his friend and co-star actress Emma Thompson.

She spoke to New York Times culture reporter David Itzkoff, who posted Thompson's tribute message on his Twitter page. “Alan was my friend...this is hard to write because I have just kissed him goodbye. What I remember most in this moment of painful leave-taking is his humor, intelligence, wisdom and kindness,” she said.

“He was, above all things, a rare and unique human being and we shall not see his like again,” Thompson added.

The Harry Potter actors were not the only ones to pay tribute to Alan Rickman, his peer Ian McKellen said on his Twitter page: “There is so much that is matchless to remember about Alan Rickman.” He also praised the late actor for his “super-creative spirit, questing and achieving” and called him “a super-hero, unassuming but deadly effective.”

Rickman was born in Acton, West London, in 1946. He attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London, and after graduating, he began his career on stage working in productions with the Royal Shakespeare Company.His memorable film roles other than in “Die Hard” and the “Harry Potter” films include “Truly, Madly, Deeply” (1991), “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves” (1991), “Sense & Sensibility” (1995), “Galaxy Quest” (1999) and “Love Actually” (2003) among others. He also directed two feature films, “The Winter Guest” (1997) and “A Little Chaos” (2014).

Despite his memorable performances, Rickman was never nominated for an Oscar. He, however, won a BAFTA Award for supporting actor in "Robin Hood" and was nominated three other times, including for "Truly Madly Deeply" in 1990 and for "Sense and Sensibility" in 1995. He also won a Golden Globe in 1997 for best actor in the HBO biopic "Rasputin."

He wed his partner of 50 years, economics lecturer and Labour councillor Rima Horton, in a quiet ceremony in 2012. He had no children.