Michael Gambon, the Dublin-born actor best known for playing Albus Dumbledore in the "Harry Potter" franchise, has died aged 82. 

Gambon, who worked alongside Laurence Olivier at Britain's National Theatre in an extraordinary career, died peacefully in hospital following a bout of pneumonia, his publicist Claire Dobbs said in a statement. 

"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," the statement said. 

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

Born in Cabra, Dublin, in 1940, Gambon moved to England with his family when he was six years old and would go on to establish a six-decade-long career in film and theater, winning three Olivier Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, and four BAFTAs in a glittering career. 

He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1999. 

Gambon made his stage debut at Dublin's Gate Theatre in 1962, appearing in a production of William Shakespeare's "Othello."

Gambon's performance in "Richard III" caught the eye of Olivier, who was recruiting talented young actors for his new National Theatre Company in the 1960s. 

The Dublin-born actor would subsequently become one of the original members of the Royal National Theatre. 

Gambon received an Olivier Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Eddie Carbone in Arthur Miller's "A View From the Bridge" in 1988 and also won the Olivier Award for Best Comedy Performance for his performances in two plays by Alan Ayckbourn - "A Chorus of Disapproval" (1986) and "Man of the Moment" (1990).

Gambon also enjoyed a successful film career, starring in films such as the 1989 film "The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover" and "Sleepy Hollow". 

He also starred as Philip Marlowe in the popular 1980s TV drama "The Singing Detective."

Gambon became a household name after taking over as Albus Dumbledore in 2004 following the death of fellow Irish actor Richard Harris in the "Harry Potter" franchise.

Starting with "The Prisoner of Azkaban" (2004), Gambon portrayed Dumbledore in six different "Harry Potter" movies, becoming one of the most recognizable names in the hugely popular franchise. 

More recently, he starred as a voice actor in "Paddington 2" and as a narrator in the Coen Brothers film "Hail Caesar!"