Jk Rowling has hailed Sir Michael Gambon as a "wonderful man" and an "outstanding actor".

The 58-year-old author - who is best known for writing the 'Harry Potter' books - has taken to social media to pay a glowing tribute to the actor, who passed away in hospital at the age of 82.

The author wrote on X: "I've just heard the awful news about Michael Gambon. The first time I ever laid eyes on him was in King Lear, in 1982, and if you'd told me then that brilliant actor would appear in anything I'd written, I'd have thought you were insane. 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. (sic)"

Michael was best known for playing Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore in a number of 'Harry Potter' movies.

Jason Isaacs, one of his co-stars in the hit film franchise, has described Michael as "magnificent".

Jason - who played Lucius Malfoy in the 'Harry Potter' films - said on X: "Magnificent Michael Gambon has died. I learned what acting could be from Michael in ‘The Singing Detective’ - complex, vulnerable and utterly human.

"The greatest thrill of being in the ‘Potter’ films was that he knew my name and shared his fearless, filthy sense of fun with me."

The actor's family confirmed that he passed away after contracting pneumonia.

They said in a statement: "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, 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."