British-Irish actor Michael Gambon, best known for playing Albus Dumbledore in six of the eight Harry Potter films , has died in hospital at the age of 82, his family announced on Thursday.
Gambon won four television BAFTAs and an Olivier Award during a decade-long acting career in television, film, radio and theater that culminated in his beloved role as headmaster of the Hogwarts magic school in the Potter series.
“We are devastated to announce the loss of Sir Michael Gambon,” a statement on behalf of his family said.
“Beloved husband and father, Michael died peacefully in the hospital with his wife Anne and son Fergus at his bedside after an attack of pneumonia.”
A native of Ireland, Gambon began his illustrious acting career at the theater and in 1962 had his first stage appearance in the production of “Othello” at the Gates Theater in the Irish capital Dublin.
In the UK, he became known for the role of a French detective in the ITV series Maigret and for his role in 1986 as Philip Marlow in screenwriter Dennis Potter’s film The Singing Detective .
He had a memorable appearance in the 2015 BBC adaptation of JK Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy, while his theatrical performances include appearances in Alan Ayckbourn’s The Norman Conquests, the Life of Galileo and Nicholas Hytner’s National Theatre productions of Henry 4.
Film roles in historical dramas such as The King’s Speech of 2010 and Gosford Park of 2001.
But he gained worldwide recognition for his performances as Dumbledore in the popular Harry Potter films, starting with Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone from 1997 . Gambon was knighted in 1998 for his contribution to the entertainment industry.
After the news of his death, tributes poured in.
“I am so sad to hear that Michael Gambon has passed away,” former Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson said on social media, recalling that the actor was a “great guest” who had a chant with his name on the BBC show’s racetrack.