The Irish actor, known for his role as Albus Dumbledore in the film series, died following “a bout of pneumonia,” per a statement via his rep on behalf of his family on Thursday, September 28. He is survived by wife Anne Gambon and son Fergus.
“We are devastated to announce the loss of Sir Michael Gambon,” the statement continued. “Beloved husband and father, Michael died peacefully in hospital with his wife Anne and son Fergus at his bedside.”
Gambon took on the role of Dumbledore for the third movie, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, following predecessor Richard Harris’ death in October 2022. Gambon continued playing the beloved Hogwarts headmaster until the film series came to an end in July 2011.
“It’s very odd,” Gambon shared in a 2009 interview ahead of the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince premiere. “I hadn’t realized before just how powerful these things are. I just do the job and go home and you forget it.”
Before nabbing the role of Dumbledore, Gambon joked that he played “quite a lot of crooks and killers,” but after Harris died, he got the call to take on a new challenge.
“They rang me up and said, ‘Will you do it?’ Like any other job I said, ‘Sure,’” Gambon shared. “Then you find yourself in the middle of this thing.”
Gambon was born in Cabra, Ireland, a suburb of Dublin. He made his acting debut as a stage star in a 1962 production of William Shakespeare’s Othello. Eventually, he moved on to the big screen and had notable roles in The Singing Detective, Wives and Daughters, Longitude, Perfect Strangers, Path to Emma and The Casual Vacancy, among others.
His most recent roles were in the 2019 movie Cordelia and the series Fortitude, in which he played Henry Tyson. Ahead of his death, he received three Olivier Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards and four BAFTA Awards.
The official Wizarding World and Harry Potter films social media accounts shared a tribute remembering the late star following the news of his passing on Thursday.
“We are incredibly saddened to hear of the passing of Sir Michael Gambon,” the caption read. “He brought immeasurable joy to Harry Potter fans from all over the world with his humor, kindness and grace. We will forever hold his memory in our hearts.”
Throughout his time on the Harry Potter set, Gambon was often known as the cast prankster. In fact, Daniel Radcliffe (who portrayed Harry Potter in all eight films) spoke highly of working with the late star.
“Michael Gambon could [make me laugh] to a frustrating degree. He learned that he could, when I was a teenager, he could make me laugh very, very easily,” Radcliffe recalled during an interview with GQ in October 2022. “Making me laugh right up until the word ‘action,’ at which point I was pretty much unable to recover and he could just snap into a performance with inherent gravitas and charm. Yeah. He’s awesome.”