“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,” Hurt told U.K.’s Radio Times in August 2015.
“We’re all just passing time, and occupy our chair very briefly. But my treatment is going terrifically well, so I’m optimistic,” he added.
In June 2015, Hurt confirmed his illness to PEOPLE. “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,” the statement read. “I am undergoing treatment and am more than optimistic about a satisfactory outcome, as indeed is the medical team.”
The star, whose career spanned over six decades, was best known for his roles in 1980’s Elephant Man, for which he received his second Oscar nomination, and as wandmaker Mr. Ollivander in three of the Harry Potter films.
Most recently, Hurt starred alongside Natalie Portman in the Oscar-nominated Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis film, Jackie.
Hurt was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in December 2014.