'Raise your wands': Social media flooded with fan tributes to Dumbledore actor Michael Gambon

Tributes flooded social media Thursday following the death of actor Michael Gambon, whose portrayal of Albus Dumbledore forever endeared him to legions of "Harry Potter" fans.

The award-winning Irish-English actor, a veteran of both the stage and the big screen, died following a bout with pneumonia, according to a statement from his family that Gambon's publicist issued Thursday to the Associated Press. He was 82.

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Gambon's six-decade career was filled with appearances in numerous theater productions and films, but the accomplished thespian is perhaps best known for his role as the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in six of the eight "Harry Potter" films.

Gambon first appeared as the bearded and cloaked wizard in 2004's "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" following the death of Richard Harris, who portrayed Dumbledore in the first two films of the franchise.

News of Gambon's death sparked many to take to social media to honor the actor.

Michael Gambon, as Dumbledore, in a scene from the motion picture "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban."
Michael Gambon, as Dumbledore, in a scene from the motion picture "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban."

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What people are saying on X, TikTok and Instagram

Images and videos from a scene in "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" showing Hogwarts students and teachers raising their wands proliferated across social media platforms.

The cinematic moment comes at the end of the sixth "Harry Potter" film after the gathered witches and wizards learn of Dumbledore's tragic death, a scene that on Thursday carried added resonance for the fanbase.

"Please raise your wands for Michael and all of his family and friends during this difficult time. May he rest in peace," fan account Harry Potter Universe posted on X, formerly Twitter.

"Hearts heavy as we raise our wands in tribute to the brilliant Michael Gambon, who brought Albus Dumbledore to life with such grace and wisdom," one user shared on X. "His portrayal touched our souls and taught us invaluable lessons."

"I’m wearing my Dumbledore’s Army t-shirt in honour of Michael Gambon," another user shared on X, a reference to the name Harry Potter gave to a student organization he helped to found in "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" to teach his classmates defensive spells.

Others on X and other platforms shared famous quotes spoken by Dumbledore throughout the series of films, including one memorable line he told to Harry in "The Deathly Hallows:" "Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and above all, those who live without hope."

Videos also began surfacing Thursday on TikTok, some featuring users' favorite Dumbledore scenes, and others with personal tributes.

"Needless to say he absolutely crushed the role," Ethan Trace, an actor and screenwriter, said on TikTok of Gambon's turn as Dumbledore. "Rest in peace, Michael."

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What other 'Harry Potter' actors have died?

Last October, Robbie Coltrane, the veteran Scottish actor who gained worldwide acclaim for his portrayal of Rubeus Hagrid, the beloved Hogwarts groundskeeper, died at 72 years old. The good-natured half-giant became a mentor to Harry as he navigated the wizarding world, appearing in all eight films.

Alan Rickman died in 2016 from cancer at the age of 69 following his nuanced performance as the seemingly villainous Severus Snape, a frequent antagonist of Harry Potter throughout the series of books and films.

And just two years after the 2011 release of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" was released as the final film of the franchise, news came of the death of Richard Griffiths in 2013 at the age of 65. As Vernon Dursley, Griffiths portrayed Harry Potter's cruel and resentful uncle.

Eric Lagatta covers breaking and trending news for USA TODAY. Reach him at elagatta@gannett.com

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'Harry Potter' fans remember Dumbledore actor Michael Gambon