Tributes paid to actor Sir John Hurt after he dies aged 77 following battle with cancer

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Tributes have been paid to actor Sir John Hurt after he died at the age of 77.

The Hollywood star, who starred in The Elephant Man, Alien and Harry Potter, died at his home on Wednesday in Norfolk.

He was born in Chesterfield and grew up in Shirebrook from a young age.

He had been treated for pancreatic cancer in 2015.

US director Mel Brooks said on Twitter: “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.”

Author J.K. Rowling tweeted: “So very sad to hear that the immensely talented and deeply beloved John Hurt has died. My thoughts are with his family and friends.”

American actress Jamie Lee Curtis posted: “John Hurt. Midnight Express. Nothing better. Ever.”

And American actor Chris Evans wrote: “John Hurt was one of the most powerful, giving, and effortlessly real actors I’ve ever worked with. Remarkable human being. U will be missed.”

Born in Chesterfield, Sir John went to art college before he studied at Rada (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art) and picked up TV and film roles until he had his major breakthrough, appearing in A Man For All Seasons as Richard Rich.

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. T

He 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.

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.”