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Michael Gambon, who played Dumbledore in ‘Harry Potter’ films, dies

Michael Gambon, a veteran actor best known for playing Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore in six of “Harry Potter” films, has died. He was 82.

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Gambon’s publicist, Clair Dobbs, said in a statement obtained Thursday by The Guardian that Gambon “died peacefully in hospital with his wife Anne and son Fergus at his bedside, following a bout with pneumonia.”

“We are devasted to announce the loss of Sir Michael Gambon,” read the statement, made on behalf of Gambon’s wife and son. “We ask that you respect our privacy at this painful time and thank you for your messages of support and love.”

Friends, family and fans took to social media to remember Gambon.

“He was always very funny and very welcoming to share any knowledge he had,” James Phelps, who played Fred Weasley in the “Harry Potter” films, said in a social media post. He added that Gambon “was, on and off the camera, a legend.”

Gambon began his acting career in 1962 and won several accolades in his decadeslong career, including four BAFTA awards and two Primetime Emmys, Sky News reported. He was an original member of the Royal National Theatre in London and, in 1998, was knighted for his work in the entertainment industry, according to BBC News.

Known in acting circles as “The Great Gambon,” he was a prolific actor, with more than 150 TV or film credits to his name, Variety reported. His roles included King George V in 2010′s “The King’s Speech,” Oseary Drakoulias in 2004′s “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” and Sir William McCordle in 2001′s “Gosford Park.” He also appeared in the “Paddington” films, 2009′s “Fantastic Mr. Fox” and an episode of the long-running British TV series “Doctor Who.”

Gambon was cast as Dumbledore in 2004′s “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” following the death of actor Richard Harris in 2002, The Associated Press reported. Harris had portrayed Dumbledore in the first two “Harry Potter” films. Gambon held the role until the final film in the franchise, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2,” was released in 2011.

“This will stick out as being a happy memory, being with a thing for so long and the worldwide love of it,” he told the AP in 2009. “You never forget that.”

Gambon retired from stage acting in 2015 due to long-term memory problems, Reuters reported. He continued to act onscreen until 2019.

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