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JK Rowling leads tributes to Sir John Hurt following actor’s death

Actor played wand-maker Mr Ollivander in Harry Potter franchise

Beloved British actor John Hurt has lost his battle with cancer.

The 77-year-old passed away on Friday.

He will be best remembered for his roles as John Merrick in The Elephant Man and wand master Mr Ollivander in the Harry Potter movies.

He began his acting career on TV in the early 1960s but received acclaim for his roles in A Man For All Seasons and 10 Rillington Place.

His film credits also include The Pied Piper, The Ghoul, Midnight Express, Night Crossing, The Hit, 1984, Scandal, The Field, Spaceballs, V For Vendetta, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, and his voice featured in the animated Lord of the Rings film, Plague Dogs, and Watership Down.

He also portrayed gender-bending writer Quentin Crisp in the 1975 TV movie The Naked Civil Servant and Caligula in acclaimed British mini-series I, Claudius. He reprised his role as Crisp for the 2009 film An Englishman in New York.

Hurt recently completed his last film The Good Night and was filming Darkest Hour, in which he was cast as former British leader Neville Chamberlain, at the time of his death. He also appeared as a priest in Natalie Portman’s current movie Jackie.

He was twice nominated for an Oscar – for The Elephant Man (1980) and Midnight Express (1978), and was honoured with a BAFTA Award for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema in 2012.

He also won BAFTAs for The Naked Civil Servant (1975), Midnight Express, and The Elephant Man.

Hurt pulled out of Kenneth Branagh’s play The Entertainer last year to recover from an intestinal complaint, which forced him into hospital.

“Although I am much improved and on the road to a full recovery, my doctors have advised that it is too soon for me to undertake a lengthy and arduous stage role,” he said in a statement. “It is therefore with great sadness and disappointment that I must withdraw from The Entertainer.”

He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in June, 2015 but declared himself in remission that October.

Stars have paid tribute in their droves.

JK Rowling tweeted of Sir John, who played wand-maker Mr Ollivander in the film adaptations of her Harry Potter books: “So very sad to hear that the immensely talented and deeply beloved John Hurt has died. My thoughts are with his family and friends.”

Actors including Walking Dead star David Morrissey also shared tributes.

Actor Luke Evans, who worked with Sir John in Hollywood film Immortals in 2011, said he would “never forget” the memories they shared.

He said: “We shared a trailer and we would sit in our loincloths and he would tell me story after story of the good old (crazy!) times of filmmaking.

“I was so new to the business but he spoke to me like an equal, with a kindness and a dignity only a man of his generation possessed.

He added: “RIP Mr Hurt and thank you for that special memory.”

Musicians Brian May and Axl Rose also paid tribute.

Hollywood legend Mel Brooks said: “It was terribly sad today to learn of John Hurt’s passing. He was a truly magnificent talent.”

“No one could have played The Elephant Man more memorably. He carried that film into cinematic immortality. He will be sorely missed.”