“Harry Potter”'s Rupert Grint, J.K. Rowling Remember Dumbledore Actor Michael Gambon: 'A Personal Role Model'

Grint spoke out about his time with the late Gambon while making the 'Harry Potter' movies together, while series author Rowling praised him as "brilliant"

<p>Cindy Ord/Getty, Nick Harvey/WireImage, Cindy Ord/WireImage</p> From L: Rupert Grint, Michael Gambon, J.K. Rowling

Cindy Ord/Getty, Nick Harvey/WireImage, Cindy Ord/WireImage

From L: Rupert Grint, Michael Gambon, J.K. Rowling

Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson and J.K. Rowling are paying their respects to Harry Potter star Michael Gambon.

After news of Gambon's death broke on Thursday, the three Harry Potter franchise lead actors and series author Rowling spoke out about the loss of their former colleague.

Sharing a film still of Gambon as Dumbledore, spreading his arms out in welcome to the Hogwarts students gathered in the Great Hall, Grint, 35, wrote, "So sad to hear about Michael."

"He brought so much warmth and mischief to every day on set. He captivated me as a kid and became a personal role model of mine for finding the fun and eccentricities in life," he continued. "Sending all my love to his family."

In her own tribute to Gambon, Rowling, 58, wrote on X (formerly Twitter) that she had "just heard the awful news" about his death, and shared a story about "the first time I ever laid eyes on him," in a 1982 production of King Lear.

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"If you'd told me then that brilliant actor would appear in anything I'd written, I'd have thought you were insane," tweeted the author. "Michael was a wonderful man in additional to being an outstanding actor, and I absolutely loved working with him, not only on Potter but also The Casual Vacancy. My deepest condolences go to Michael's family and everyone who loved him."

Radcliffe, who worked with Gambon closely across the film series, told PEOPLE in a statement that "the world just became considerably less fun" with the news of Gambon's death.

"Michael Gambon was one of the most brilliant, effortless actors I’ve ever had the privilege of working with, but despite his immense talent, the thing I will remember most about him is how much fun he had doing his job," Radcliffe said in a statement. "He was silly, irreverent and hilarious. He loved his job, but never seemed defined by it. He was an incredible story and joke teller and his habit of blurring the lines of fact and fiction when talking to journalists meant that he was also one of the most entertaining people with whom you could ever wish to do a press junket."

"The sixth film was where I got to spend the most time working with Michael and he made the hours spent in front of a green screen together more memorable and joyous than they had any right to be," Radcliffe added. "I’m so sad to hear he has passed, but I am so grateful for the fact that I am one of the lucky people who got to work with him.”

Warner Bros. Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore in the <em>Harry Potter</em> series
Warner Bros. Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter series

Related: Remembering the Harry Potter Actors We've Lost Through the Years

Watson shared an image of Gambon in Prisoner of Azkaban to her Instagram Story on Thursday afternoon, writing in a caption: "Kind kind kind Michael Gambon. You never took it too seriously but somehow delivered the most serious moments with all the gravitas. Thank you for showing us what it looks like to wear greatness lightly. We will miss you. xx"

Gambon took over the part of Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore after the death of Richard Harris in October 2002 at age 72. (Harris played Dumbledore in the series' first two films.)

Gambon died "peacefully" in the hospital, his representative confirmed in a statement to PEOPLE on Thursday, issued on behalf of his wife Lady Gambon and son Fergus.

“We are devastated to announce the loss of Sir Michael Gambon," the statement shared on Thursday began. "Beloved husband and father, Michael died peacefully in hospital with his wife Anne and son Fergus at his bedside, following a bout of pneumonia. Michael was 82."

"We ask that you respect our privacy at this painful time and thank you for your messages of support and love," the statement concluded.

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