Actor J.J. Murphy has died at the age of 86, just days after filming his first scenes on the much anticipated fifth season of George R.R Martin’s (pictured) book adaptation of Game of Thrones.
The Northern Irish actor was set to play the role of Shadow Tower commander Ser Denys Mallister in the HBO fantasy drama, but is said to have collapsed and died on Friday, Aug. 8, the Belfast Telegraph reports.
“I had the pleasure and honor to be his Agent for the last 18 months and have never encountered a man with more spirit, passion and love for his craft,” Philip Young said in a statement, according to CNN. “At this time our thoughts are with his family.”
GoT producers D.B. Weiss and David Benioff have also commented on the loss of the actor, saying via a statement, “We will not be recasting J.J. Murphy. He was a lovely man, and the best Denys Mallister we could have hoped for. And now his watch is ended.”
While the producers of GoT won’t be recasting the actor, they have cast several new faces for Season 5, including actors Tony Sebastian and Jonathan Pryce.
While Game of Thrones was the actor’s latest project, it was certainly not his first. He starred in the films Angela’s Ashes and Cal, as well as made stage appearances, including in 2012 at The Lyric Theatre in Belfast, where he acted in a production of Joseph Tomelty’s All Souls’ Night, and he also had a role in the upcoming film, Dracula Untold.
Our thoughts are with the actor’s family and friends during this sad time, including his wife, Mary, and two children, Joseph and Jane.