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Actor John Hurt dies from pancreatic cancer aged 77

The veteran British actor announced he had cancer in June 2015 but said he was optimistic. He was best known for his roles in "The Elephant Man" and "Alien."

The Oscar-nominated actor Sir John Hurt died in London on Friday, aged 77, his agent confirmed. He had been fighting pancreatic cancer.

Charles McDonald, a British-based representative for the actor's Los Angeles talent manager, John Crosby, did not provide further details of his death.

The actor received Academy Award nominations and twice awarded Britain's top film award, the BAFTA, for playing a heroin addict in "Midnight Express" and John Merrick in David Lynch's "The Elephant Man."

The veteran British actor was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for services to drama in 2015.

Penelope Cruz and John Hurt (picture alliance/United Archives/Impress)

Hurt's credits included playing a village doctor in Greece in the 2001 film "Captain Corelli's Mandolin"

His career spanned more than 50 years, starring in more than 200 films and television series.

In June 2015, Hurt reported on his website that he was suffering from pancreatic cancer, saying it was early stage and that he was optimistic.

"We're all just passing time, and occupy our chair very briefly," Hurt said in a 2015 interview while undergoing treatments for the early stage cancer.

Fellow actors and industry figures posted their condolences on social media.

Hurt's most recent appearance was in the Sundance TV crime series "The Last Panthers" and in the Oscar-nominated film "Jackie."

He was bestowed an honorary BAFTA in 2012 for his outstanding contribution to cinema.

"I have lots of favorite memories but I can't say that I have a favorite film. I have favorite parts which are not in particularly successful films," Hurt told "The Guardian" in 2000.

"I've worked with people from Fred Zinnemann, John Huston, through to Richard Fleischer, all of those boys from Hollywood and so on and Sam Peckinpah and then the Mike Radfords ... I've been incredibly lucky with the directors I've worked with.

"You don't realize it at the time, it's just in retrospect if you look back you think, 'Jeez, when I saw that CV it nearly frightened the life out of me.' I thought, "That's not bad for an old drunk."

aw/bw (dpa, AFP, Reuters, AP)