Roger Rees, the actor most known for his role as snooty Englishman Robin Colcord in the 1980s sitcom "Cheers," has died at the age of 71. 

Rees passed away Friday night after a battle with cancer, his representative Rick Miramontez told the Associated Press. His illness forced him to take leave from the cast of the Broadway musical "The Visit" to undergo medical treatment in May, and the show closed one month later.

In "The Visit," Rees played the love interest of actress Chita Rivera's character, and Rivera told The New York Times that she grew close with her costar after working with him for the past year.

"I feel I've been cheated a little bit," Ms. Rivera said. "I haven't had enough time with Roger Rees."

The Welsh-born Tony Award-winning actor's TV credits also include his portrayal of British ambassador Lord John Marbury in "The West Wing" and the Sheriff of Rottingham in the 1993 film "Robin Hood: Men In Tights," according to CNN. However, it was his role as Nicholas Nickleby in the stage adaptation of Charles Dickens' 1839 novel "The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby" that made him a star.

English theatre director Trevor Nunn worked with Rees on the Royal Shakespeare Company's 1980 production and said that Rees was an inspirational and exceptional actor.

"He had the perpetual boyishness and mischief of a Peter Pan, extraordinary wit combined with a gift for self-satire, and dauntless optimism coupled with deep-rooted belief," Nunn told AP. "All these ingredients went into his acting, and I am sure, into his directing, and gave him an aura of rare, generous spirited humanity."