Legendary British actor Sir Antony Sher, widely regarded as one of the great thespians and hailed for his Shakespearean roles, has passed away. He was 72. According to Variety, the acclaimed performer had died of cancer. The news of his demise was announced by the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) on Friday. The RCS's statement read as follows: "We are deeply saddened to announce the death of Sir Antony Sher, Honorary Associate Artist and husband of Artistic Director, Gregory Doran. Antony had a long association with the RSC and a hugely celebrated career on stage and screen. Antony’s last production with the Company was in the two-hander Kunene and The King, written by his friend and fellow South African actor, writer and activist, John Kani. Antony was deeply loved and hugely admired by so many colleagues. He was a ground-breaking role model for many young actors, and it is impossible to comprehend that he is no longer with us. We will ensure friends far and wide have the chance to share tributes and memories in the days to come." 

Born in South Africa in 1949, Sher moved to London to study at the Webber-Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art 1969-1971 before joining the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1982. His popularity among mainstream audiences shot up after his roles in Erik the Viking (1989), Mrs. Brown (1997), Shakespeare in Love (1998), and The Wolfman (2010) to name a notable few. However, he garnered a bigger reputation in theatre and won the Olivier award for best actor twice for Richard III and Torch Song Trilogy (1985) and, for Stanley (1997). Sher also received a BAFTA TV award Best Actor nomination for the one-man show Primo (2007).

Antony Sher was an Honorary Associate Artist at the Royal Shakespeare Company and husband of the theatre company's artistic director, Gregory Doran. He had to take a leave on compassionate grounds from his role in September after Sher was diagnosed with terminal cancer earlier this year. King Lear, Falstaff in the Henry IV plays and Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman were some of the productions Sher was attached to at the RSC prior to his diagnosis. Some other performances that are regarded as milestones in Sher's career are as Leontes in The Winter's Tale, Prospero in The Tempest, Iago in Othello, including the title roles in Cyrano de Bergerac, Macbeth and Tamburlaine the Great. Many have hailed his performance in Richard III to be a defining moment in his career. Sher's autobiography Beside Myself was published in 2002.