Harry Potter and Cracker star Robbie Coltrane dies aged 72
In a moving tweet with a photograph of them holding hands, she posted: “I'll never know anyone remotely like Robbie again. He was an incredible talent, a complete one off, and I was beyond fortunate to know him, work with him and laugh my head off with him.
"I send my love and deepest condolences to his family, above all his children.”
The actor’s agent Belinda Wright confirmed his passing in a statement, she said: “My client and friend Robbie Coltrane OBE passed away on Friday October 14. Robbie was a unique talent, sharing the Guinness Book of Records’ Award for winning three consecutive Best Actor Baftas for his portrayal of Fitz in Granada TV’s series Cracker in 1994, 1995 and 1996 with Sir Michael Gambon.
“He will probably be best remembered for decades to come as Rubeus 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.
“James Bond fans write too to applaud his role in GoldenEye and The World Is Not Enough.
“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 and after 40 years of being proud to be called his agent, I shall miss him.
“He is survived by his sister Annie Rae, his children Spencer and Alice and their mother Rhona Gemmell. They would like to thank the medical staff at Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert for their care and diplomacy.
“Please respect Robbie’s family’s privacy at this distressing time.”
After being born in 1950 in Rutherglen to a GP and a teacher, Anthony Robert MacMillan attended private school and university before moving into acting.
Before some of his most serious and well-known rules, Coltrane entered the public consciousness with a few comedic cameos and was one of the star performers in John Byrne’s 1987 BBC hit Tutti Frutti, playing Danny McGlone in the award-winning comedy about a Glaswegian band.
A comic turn as Mason Boyne, the proud Orange Order member in a short-lived BBC sketch show, was followed by a legendary one-off performance as word-smith Samuel Johnson in Blackadder.
Perhaps his best known TV role is as the troubled criminal psychologist Edward 'Fitz' Fitzgerald in the smash hit 'Cracker', which was critically acclaimed and boasted stars such as Robert Carlyle and Christopher Eccleston in supporting roles.
A household name by the early 90's, Coltrane already had a reputation as something of a rebel, once notably refusing to bow to Princess Anne at the Royal Variety Performance.
TV work led to two of his biggest supporting roles in cinema – a two-film stint as morally questionable 007 ally Valentin Zukovsky in Bond films Goldeneye and The World is not Enough, and as half-giant handyman Hagrid in the Harry Potter series of films.
Discussing the roles that some of Britain's biggest actors secured in the movies about the boy-wizard, author JK Rowling revealed that her two suggestions involved blurting out “Maggie Smith for Professor McGonagle and Robbie Coltrane for Hagrid” without a second thought.
The Harry Potter series give Coltrane regular work with eight acclaimed films spread over a ten year period – but he still found time for film roles as varied as Hyde in Van Helsing and the Prime Minister in young adult spy-action Stormbreaker.
His TV work has also remained strong, a riotously funny turn in Still Game as a deranged bus driver gave a whole new generation a taste of his comedic acting credentials, and his recent role as a close-to-home public figure accused of historical abuse in 'National Treasure' was lauded.
Coltrane preferred the quiet life out of the public eye, living for a period in a secluded lane in the Trossachs surrounded by his collection of 1950s and 60s American cars.
Friend and fellow star Stephen Fry also took to twitter, posting: “I first met Robbie Coltrane almost exactly 40 years ago. I was awe/terror/love struck all at the same time. Such depth, power & talent: funny enough to cause helpless hiccups & honking as we made our first TV show, “Alfresco”. Farewell, old fellow. You’ll be so dreadfully missed.”