Elephant Man and Harry Potter actor Sir John Hurt has died at the age of 77 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

The Oscar nominated star, who also appeared in the Lord of the Rings and George Orwell’s 1984, has had a career spanning decades, and was one of Britain’s best loved actors.

His heartbroken widow Anwen Hurt said the world would not be a strange place without him. Already, tributes have also poured in from celebrities he worked with over the years, including the Harry Potter author J K Rowling.

Mrs Hurt paid an incredibly touching tribute to her husband, saying: “John was the most sublime of actors and the most gentlemanly of gentlemen with the greatest of hearts and the most generosity of spirit.”

A magnificent talent

Meanwhile, fellow Hollywood star Mel Brooks said he was a “truly magnificent talent”. Sir John had appeared to have won his fight against pancreatic cancer in October 2015 when he signed up to appear in West End show The Entertainer. However, his doctors then told him he wasn’t well enough after he had to be hospitalised with an intestinal condition.

Even thought he was ill, he was philosophical about the issue of mortality, once saying in an interview: “We’re all just passing time, and occupy our chair very briefly.”

Sir John leaves behind his wife, and by his sons Alexander and Nick, from his third marriage to Jo Dalton. Despite the loss of Sir John, he is still set to appear on the big screen this year, in That Good Night, in which is part is that of a once famous writer who is suffering from a terminal illness.

He had also taken a role in Darkest Hour, in which he was set to play Neville Chamberlain during the early days of the Second World War. However, that movie had not finished shooting, so it is not clear if film makers will be able to keep him in the finished production, or whether they will have to reshoot.

Published by Elizabeth

A journalist from the South West of England, Elizabeth specialises in writing about politics, health and technology.