Alan Rickman kept a diary for 29 years. After he died, his wife Rima wrote these words.

The following is an excerpt from Madly, Deeply: The Diaries of Alan Rickman, a rare invitation into the mind of Alan Rickman - one of the most magnetic, beloved performers of our time. This is the afterword, written by his wife, Rima Horton. 

Alan’s last diary entry was on 12 December, but he had been getting weaker and writing less for some time. All through the autumn he had been getting more tired, eating less and often feeling sick. But we continued to do most of the things that had always been part of our life. We saw films and plays, met friends, went out to dinner or entertained at home. And Alan still did some work, although the film projects that he had been attached to had had to be abandoned.

Alan also spent a lot of time sitting on the sofa and watching TV – his two favourite programmes at that time were Don’t Tell the Bride and Say Yes to the Dress.

Our trip to New York in November was very important. To stay in our flat again, attend the memorial for Mike Nichols and see so many of the friends who had meant so much to us over the years. Alan loved New York.

He went downhill after that. By mid-December it was clear that things were getting bad. He was often in pain, very weak and sleeping a lot. We both knew that he probably had months rather than years but still hoped that the chemotherapy would work and maybe stabilise the tumour. So we continued with plans for Christmas and New Year – Christmas was meant to be with our good friend Sara Sugarman, and others, at her beautiful house in Sheerness. And New Year was going to be in Norfolk.

By 19 December I was convinced that Alan needed to be in hospital, but we had invited his brother David and wife Chris for lunch that day and arranged to see Zoë in a play that evening. And Alan, being Alan, despite being in pain, would not let them down. But I did manage to talk to our consultant who agreed that Alan would be admitted the following morning. He was.


He never left the hospital after that. We soon knew that our Christmas plans were out (various friends and family came in that day). I think it was obvious to all of them that things were serious. Alan still had hopes for New Year and on New Year’s Eve sent me home to pack, but when I returned with our two little suitcases, it was clearly not going to happen. He was far too weak.

New Year’s Eve was odd. I was there during the day, but Alan was sleepy so I left about 8. He told me the next day that he awoke at 11.50 and was able to watch the fireworks on TV.

The last two weeks of Alan’s life were extraordinary. It was clear that he was dying. Our consultant told us that he had been so bad that it could have happened before Christmas. But there was nothing more that they could do other than preventing him from being in pain. Which they did.

During these last two weeks Alan’s room was turned into a salon. Belinda had produced a table-top Christmas tree, Emma brought in a standard lamp, cushions, and a throw to cover the sofa. And an infuser. Miranda added a window bird-feeder. I was asked to bring in a beautiful table lamp from home.

Different friends came in each day. Sometimes, Alan told me who he wanted to see. Otherwise, they just came in. There was often a lot of laughter. Alan was in bed but always a major voice in the proceedings.


And, in conjunction with our dear friend, interior designer Caroline Holdaway, he planned the décor of the new flat that we were buying. He even added the instruction ‘and you’d better put in a bloody cat flap’. She did.

He designed his own funeral. Ian Rickson (theatre director) was put in charge. Alan chose where it would take place, who would speak and what music would be played. Ian and I sat by the bed while he decided which part of his own work he wanted shown.

He was surrounded by people who loved him and up until 13 January was still in control of everything that was going on around him. But he wasn’t there after that, and he died at 9.15 in the morning of 14 January 2016. I was there. He wasn’t in pain. He just went.

Alan had six months between diagnosis and death, which is typical for pancreatic cancer where the average is three months, because there is currently no diagnostic test and the symptoms are so non-specific (I have become a trustee of Pancreatic Cancer UK in the hope that we can raise money to fund research to develop the diagnostic testing that might have saved Alan’s life).

But to continue, several friends came in that day: Ruby, Helena, Emma, Tara and niece Sarah, and that evening everyone gathered at Ruby’s house. Many friends, many memories, many tears and so much else.

Alan was cremated on the morning of 3 February with close friends and family present. The funeral service was held that afternoon in The Actors Church in the heart of London’s theatre district. Ian directed a stellar cast, which included J.K. Rowling. Megan Dodds performed a piece from My Name Is Rachel Corrie. The chosen music was ‘Uptown Funk’ and ‘Take It with Me’ by Tom Waits. The only piece of Alan’s work was from Peter Barnes’ Revolutionary Witness. We finished with everyone singing ‘The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore’. Then, in keeping with tradition, the Reverend Richard Syms asked us to give Alan ‘one last wonderful standing ovation’.


Image: Amazon.

You can now purchase Madly, Deeply: The Diaries of Alan Rickman, here.

Feature Image: Alan's personal collection and belonging to the Alan Rickman estate, courtesy of Rima Horton.