Legendary actor John Hurt has died at the age of 77, according to several British newspapers

Legendary actor John Hurt has died at the age of 77, according to his agent.

He is survived by his wife of 12 years, Anwen Rees-Myer.

Close friend Richard E. Grant was heartbroken by the news, tweeting, “So so sad to have lost such an extraordinary talent and friend. Sir John Hurt. R. I. P.”

Hurt was diagnosed with cancer in 2015, but later said he was clear of the disease.

Hurt’s career spanned over six decades. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2014 and has been twice nominated for an Academy Award – for 1978’s Midnight Express, and for playing the title role of John Merrick in David Lynch’s 1980 biopic The Elephant Man.

“The role stretched me to the limits,” he once told PEOPLE of the latter film. He has also starred in dozens of other movies, including The Naked Civil Servant, Alien, and three films in the Harry Potter franchise.

Most recently, Hurt starred alongside Natalie Portman in the Oscar-nominated Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis film Jackie.

Speaking about his pancreatic cancer diagnosis, Hurt told PEOPLE in 2015, “I am undergoing treatment and am more than optimistic about a satisfactory outcome, as indeed is the medical team.”

In an August 2015 interview with Radio Times, Hurt spoke about his death, saying, “I hope I shall have the courage to say, ‘Vroom! Here we go! Let’s become different molecules!'”

He added, “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.”