Sir Michael Gambon, best known for portraying Professor Albus Dumbledore in the “Harry Potter” films, has passed away, his family announced Thursday.
He was 82.
“We are devastated to announce the loss of Sir Michael Gambon,” his rep, Clair Dobbs, said in a statement on behalf of his wife, Anne Miller, and son Fergus.
“Beloved husband and father, Michael died peacefully in hospital with his wife Anne and son Fergus at his bedside, following a bout of pneumonia.”
The statement concluded, “We ask that you respect our privacy at this painful time and thank you for your messages of support and love.”
The Irish-English actor’s career spanned nearly five decades, winning four BAFTAs, two RTS Awards and an Olivier.
Beginning his career in theater in Dublin, Gambon first appeared on stage in a production of “Othello” at the Gates Theatre in 1962 and was knighted for his contribution to the entertainment industry in 1998.
He is also known for portraying French detective Jules Maigret in the ITV series “Maigre” and for starring in the BBC series “The Singing Detective.”
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However, he is best known for his role as the beloved headmaster of Hogwarts, taking over the role following the death of the original actor, Richard Harris, until the end of the eight-film franchise.
Gambon joined forces with “Harry Potter” author JK Rowling again in 2015 when he appeared in the BBC’s adaptation of “The Casual Vacancy,” which was written under Rowling’s pseudonym, Richard Galbraith.
The famed actor was forced to retire from the stage that same year after suffering “frightening memory loss,” which he described as a heartbreaking decision.
“There was a girl in the wings and I had a plug in my ear so she could read me the lines,” he said at the time.
“After about an hour I thought, ‘This can’t work.’ It’s a horrible thing to admit but I can’t do it. It breaks my heart.”
Gambon married Miller in 1962 and they share one son. Despite never divorcing Miller, Gambon went on to have another partner, set designer Philippa Hart, who was 25 years younger than he, with whom he shared two children.