Many Harry Potter fans will be coming to terms with the death of Dumbledore actor Sir Michael Gambon.

The 82-year-old played the role of the wizard in six of the films after Richard Harris' passing in 2002.

However, the role was previously cast for Sir Ian McKellen who went on to appear as Gandalf but there was a surprising reason the Lord of The Rings star didn’t go ahead as one of Hogwarts' most famous characters.

Why did Sir Ian McKellen turn down the role of Dumbledore?

Hello! reports that in an interview with BBC's Hardtalk, the 84-year-old explained: "When [Richard] died – he played Dumbledore the wizard [while] I played the real wizard [Gandalf], of course – [the producers] called me up and said, 'Would I be interested in being in the Harry Potter films?'

"They didn't say what part. But I worked out what they were thinking. I couldn't take over the part from an actor who I know disapproved of me."

Richard had previously described Sir Ian's acting style as "technically brilliant, but passionless” and this was why he turned down the part in the Harry Potter franchise.

It was revealed that Richard turned down the role of Dumbledore many times before he was eventually persuaded to accept it by his granddaughter Ella.

He told Zap2it: "All I knew is that they kept offering me the part and raising the salary every time they called. I kept turning it down… [Ella] said, 'Papa, I hear you're not going to be in the Harry Potter movie. If you don't play Dumbledore then I will never speak to you again.'"

Sir Michael Gambon dies at the age of 82

Sir Michael died in hospital at the age of 82 after a “bout of pneumonia”, his family have confirmed today (September 28).

A statement issued on behalf of Lady Gambon and son Fergus Gambon said: “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.”

He was knighted for his contribution to the entertainment industry in 1998 and has won four TV Baftas.

Sir Michael is known for his extensive back catalogue of work across TV, film, radio and theatre over a career spanning five decades.

He is also known for playing French detective Jules Maigret in ITV series Maigret, and for his 1986 role as Philip Marlow in Dennis Potter’s The Singing Detective.