Gambon, one of Britain’s most respected actors, took over the role of Dumbledore from Richard Harris in the third Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. He went on to play the character in the remaining five films in the series.
A statement by his family, issued by his publicist, said he died following “a bout of pneumonia.”
“We are devastated to announce the loss of Sir Michael Gambon. Beloved husband and father, Michael died peacefully in hospital with his wife Anne and son Fergus at his bedside,” his family said.
Gambon was born in Dublin in 1940 and began his acting career on stage in the early 1960s. He quickly made a name for himself as a versatile and talented actor, appearing in a wide range of productions, from Shakespeare to modern drama.
In addition to his work in the Harry Potter films, Gambon is also known for his roles in films such as Gandhi, The Killing Fields, Gosford Park, and The King’s Speech. He has also appeared in many television shows, including Brideshead Revisited, The Singing Detective, and Life on Mars.
Gambon was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1998 for his services to drama. He is survived by his wife, Anne, and their two sons.
In a statement, Warner Bros. Studios said: “We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Sir Michael Gambon. He was a beloved actor and a true friend to the Harry Potter family. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”
J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter books, tweeted: “I’m so very sorry to hear of the passing of Sir Michael Gambon. He was a great actor and a thoroughly kind man. He will be deeply missed.”
He once acknowledged not having read any of J. K. Rowling’s best-selling books, arguing that it was safer to follow the script rather than be too influenced by the books. That didn’t prevent him from embodying the spirit of Professor Dumbledore, the powerful wizard who fought against evil to protect his students.
Gambon retired from the stage in 2015.
Gambon’s death is a major loss to the world of acting. He was a truly gifted actor who brought many iconic characters to life on screen. He will be remembered by fans all over the world for his work in the Harry Potter films and his many other memorable roles.
Watch Dumbledore and Voldemort Duel: