Hurt received his knighthood in 2015, shortly after announcing that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer - it is unknown at this time if his death was connected with that struggle.

"John Hurt is simply the greatest actor in the world", Lynch told the New York Times in 1990. "He touched all our lives with joy and magic and it will be a unusual world without him", his widow, Anwen Rees-Myers said. More recently, he played the wand seller Garrick Ollivander in three of the eight Harry Potter films and joined the world-famous BBC series Doctor Who for its 50th anniversary special in 2013. His first major role was in A Man for All Seasons and he subsequently appeared in 10 Rillington Place, Alien, Nineteen Eighty-Four, The Field, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (and two others in the franchise), Hellboy, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Snowpiercer, and Jackie among dozens of others.

John Hurt, a British actor who was famous for roles in films such as Alien, V for Vendetta and The Elephant, has died at the age of 77. Director Mel Brooks tweeted, "No one could have played The Elephant Man more memorably".

Taking to their social media account, stars have started sharing their memories of the actor while many have praise the star's body of work and attitude to life.

Hurt is survived by his wife of 12 years, Anwen Rees Meyers, a former actress and classical pianist.

He won four Baftas throughout his career including for An Englishman in NY, and for the Naked Civil Servant.

The Oscar-winning film earned Hurt a Best Actor nomination, which he lost to Robert De Niro's performance as Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull.

"It is with deep sadness that I have to confirm that my husband, John Vincent Hurt, died on Wednesday 25th January 2017 at home in Norfolk", she said in a statement released by publicist Charles McDonald. My thoughts are with his family and friends.

The actor said he chose to share his diagnosis with the press because he had "always been open about the way in which I conduct my life".

R.I.P., Sir John, you shall be missed.

"When I say that acting is just a rather more sophisticated way of playing cowboys and Indians", says Hurt, "it's my way of trying to quash all the pretentious crap that's said about acting".