The veteran actor, 69, died today of cancer aged 69.
He was best known for his roles as villains such as Professor Snape in the Harry Potter series and Hans Gruber in the first Die Hard film.
The Bafta winning actor for his role as the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, also appeared in Truly Madly Deeply and Love Actually - alongside Emma Thompson.
The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art trained star had been suffering from cancer, his family said.
He began as a Shakespearian actor and also starred in the musical of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
A family statement released said: "The actor and director Alan Rickman has died from cancer at the age of 69. He was surrounded by family and friends."
Celebrities took to Twitter to express their grief at the loss of the actor.
Stephen Fry tweeted: "What desperately sad news about Alan Rickman. A man of such talent, wicked charm & stunning screen & stage presence. He'll be sorely missed."
British actor Will Poulter tweeted: "Rest in Peace Alan Rickman. Such sad news. A huge loss."
Presenter Lauren Laverne kept her thoughts short and sweet, tweeting: "This week can do one. #AlanRickman"
His older sibling David Rickman said today: "He passed away this morning.
"He was in a hospital at the time."
But David wanted to grieve in private.
He said: "At this stage I would rather keep quiet."
His family announced his death today saying he was surrounded by loved ones in his final moments.Alan's last role was at the end of his glittering career was voicing Absolem the Caterpillar, in the upcoming sequel Alice Through the Looking Glass.