Harry Potter fans are commemorating Alan Rickman with this beautiful tribute

Film fans all over the world are mourning the death of Alan Rickman, whose family has confirmed has passed away from cancer at the age of 69.

The actor's career spanned decades, and took him from the Royal Shakespeare Company to Hollywood blockbusters - but he is perhaps most beloved by fans for his portrayal of potions professor Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films.

Snape is central to the plot of both the books and films, and one of the most complex of all JK Rowling's characters.

After a long and fractious relationship, Harry Potter describes Snape as "probably the bravest man I ever knew".

Snape has become one of the most potent characters in the vibrant online world of Harry Potter fandom, especially on Tumblr.

Thousands of fans are now taking to social media to share a beautiful gif as a tribute to their beloved Snape.

The gif is from a scene in Harry Potter and The Halfblood Prince, after Professor Dumbledore dies. But it's also a touching gesture for a character who helped so many people understand when they were growing up that 'good' and 'evil' are not simple black and white concepts:

RIP Alan Rickman: 1946 - 2016.

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