Alan Davidson/Shutterstock Robbie Coltrane and Daniel Radcliffe in 2002
Radcliffe, 33, says in a statement obtained by PEOPLE that Coltrane, who reportedly died Friday at age 72, “was one of the funniest people I’ve met and used to keep us laughing constantly as kids on the set.”
“I’ve especially fond memories of him keeping our spirits up on (2004’s Harry Potter and the) Prisoner of Azkaban, when we were all hiding from the torrential rain for hours in Hagrid’s hut and he was telling stories and cracking jokes to keep morale up,” Radcliffe adds.
He goes on to rave how he “feel(s) incredibly lucky that” he “got to meet and work with” Coltrane, adding that he’s “very sad that he’s passed.”
“He was an incredible actor and a lovely man,” Radcliffe concludes.
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Warner Brothers/courtesy Everett Collection Robbie Coltrane and Daniel Radcliffe in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)
Coltrane’s agent and friend Belinda Wright confirmed the news of his death to PEOPLE, sharing that he died Friday and calling the actor “a unique talent.”
“He will probably be best remembered for decades to come as Hagrid in the Harry Potter films, a role which brought joy to children and adults alike all over the world, prompting a stream of fan letters every week for over 20 years,” Wright continued in part.
“For me personally I shall remember him as an abidingly loyal client … as well as being a wonderful actor, he was forensically intelligent … brilliantly witty,” she added. “And after 40 years of being proud to be called his agent, I shall miss him.”
While the actor’s cause of death was not immediately apparent, Deadline reports that he “had been in ill health for the past two years,” and died in Larbert, Scotland, in a hospital close to his home.
Warner Bros/courtesy Everett Co Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
Coltrane’s Harry Potter character Hagrid, the Hogwarts keeper of keys and grounds, is the first person Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) meets from the Wizarding World on his 11th birthday before setting off to Hogwarts, and becomes a mentor of sorts for the boy wizard.
In the Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts, which aired on HBO Max earlier this year, Coltrane emotionally reflected on his time as Hagrid in the films, which were released between 2001 and 2011.
“I just think it’s an end of an era. It’s 10 years of my life, my children have grown up during it,” he said.
“The legacy of the movies is that my children’s generation will show them to their children, so you could be watching it in 50 years’ time, easy,” he continued in the special.
“I’ll not be here sadly, but Hagrid will. Yes,” Coltrane added.