"I've just kissed him goodbye": Emma Thompson's poignant tribute to her friend Alan Rickman.

The world lost another luminary in Alan Rickman this week, who died in London from cancer aged 69 yesterday.

Emma Thompson, 56, who worked with Rickman many times, released a warm, loving tribute to her friend and frequent co-star, calling him a “rare and unique human being”.

The pair, whose marriage woes in Love, Actually still provoke furious debate, also acted together in Sense and Sensibility (1995) and Judas Kiss (1988), as well as three Harry Potter films.

Rickman also directed Thompson in The Winter Guest (1997).

“Alan was my friend and so this is hard to write because I have just kissed him goodbye,” Thompson’s statement begins.

What I remember most in this moment of painful leave-taking is his humour, intelligence, wisdom, and kindness. His capacity to fell you with a look or lift you with a word.

That intransigence which made him the great artist that he was — his inedible and cynical wit, the clarity with which he saw most things, including me, and the fact that he never spared me the view. I learned a lot from him.

He was the finest of actors and directors. I couldn’t wait to see what he was going to do with his face next. I consider myself hugely privileged to have worked with him so many times and to have been directed by him.

He was the ultimate ally. In like, art and politics. I trusted him absolutely.

He was, above all things, a rare and unique human being and we shall not see his like again.