The tragic death of Harry Potter actor Robbie Coltrane

Actor Robbie Coltrane, best known for his portrayal of Rubeus Hagrid in the Harry Potter series, died on October 14 at the age of 72. “Robbie will probably be best remembered as Hagrid for decades to come… a role that brought joy to children and adults alike and prompted a torrent of fan letters every week for over 20 years,” the Scottish actor’s agent told the BBC in a Expression. In addition to his work as Hagrid, Coltrane has had an extensive filmography which includes starring in the television series Cracker as Dr. Edward “Fitz” Fitzgerald has included roles in films such as Brothers Bloom, Van Helsing, and two James Bond films, per IMDb.

Though Coltrane was a formidable character actor in a variety of projects, his impact as Hogwarts groundskeeper was what many fans remembered after hearing of his passing. “Thanks Robbie Coltrane for leaving us with Hagrid forever, you were darling,” one fan tweeted after the news was announced. “The death of Robbie Coltrane really feels like a family member is dying, I can’t even explain it,” added another.

In 2001, as the first installment in the popular Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone franchise was about to be released, Coltrane spoke about how he hoped to be part of a classic children’s film. “That’s how I feel about Hagrid. It’s like I’m the lion in The Wizard of Oz,” he told Empire at the time. Though he ended up with an iconic role, Coltrane’s acting career was cut short by health issues.

Robbie Coltrane had health problems in his last years

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Following the 2016 TV mini-series National Treasure, Robbie Coltrane did not appear in film or television for several years. In 2018, his agent announced he was making a comeback after being sidelined due to health issues, per the Express. Then, in 2019, Coltrane made headlines when he showed up in a wheelchair at the start of Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Ride at Universal Orlando. The actor had chronic knee problems that severely limited his mobility. “It’s very frustrating for him but he’s really hoping to get back on his feet after the surgery,” a source told The Sun at the time.

Coltrane struggled with osteoarthritis and was open about how debilitating the condition was in his daily life. “I fought pain 24 hours a day when I was on ‘National Treasure’ and ‘Great Expectations,'” he told Radio Times via Express. After knee surgery, there was hope that Coltrane would return to acting, but fan concerns mounted in June when the Scot retired from attending the London Film and Comic Con, according to Pop Culture.

Though he had to retire from acting due to ill health, Coltrane was content with the “legacy” the Harry Potter films had left. “So you could easily see it 50 years from now… I won’t be here unfortunately… but Hagrid will, yes,” Coltrane said during the reunion show Harry Potter: Return to Hogwarts, which aired on HBO Max im January (via the Daily Record).