Actor Sir John Hurt dies at 77.

John Hurt in his role as 'the War Doctor' in a Doctor Who special episode.
John Hurt in his role as 'the War Doctor' in a Doctor Who special episode.
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Veteran character actor John Hurt, star of movies including Alien and Harry Potter, has died at 77 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

The Oscar-nominated star was well known for roles including Quentin Crisp in The Naked Civil Servant, the

title role in The Elephant Man and wand merchant Mr Ollivander in the Harry Potter films.

His agent, Charles McDonald, confirmed his death to the Press Association on Saturday.

The British actor was nominated for two Academy Awards, for The Elephant Man and Midnight Express, and won four Bafta Awards, including a lifetime achievement recognition for his outstanding contribution to British cinema in 2012.

Hollywood legend Mel Brooks described him as “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,” he added.

Stephen Fry celebrated the “great man” for excelling as an actor, whether he was working in cinema, television or on the stage.

Richard E Grant tweeted: “So so sad to have lost such an extraordinary talent and friend. Sir John Hurt. R. I. P.”

Sir John told the Press Association of his diagnosis in June 2015.

He said: ‘’I have always been open about the way in which I conduct my life and in that spirit I would like to make a statement.

“I have recently been diagnosed with early stage pancreatic cancer. I am undergoing treatment and am more than optimistic about a satisfactory outcome, as indeed is the medical team.

“I am continuing to focus on my professional commitments and will shortly be recording Jeffrey Bernard Is Unwell (one of life’s small ironies!) for BBC Radio 4.’’

“He later told the Radio Times: “I can’t say I worry about mortality, but it’s impossible to get to my age and not have a little contemplation of it.

“We’re all just passing time, and occupy our chair very briefly. But my treatment is going terrifically well, so I’m optimistic.”

Sir John enjoyed a big hit with sci-fi horror Alien in 1979 and his character’s final scene has been frequently named as one of the most memorable in cinematic history.

He recently found new fans when he starred as a “forgotten” incarnation of the Doctor, known as the War Doctor, in Doctor Who.

He was knighted by the Queen for services to drama at an investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle in 2015.