Tributes have been paid to Dallas legend Larry Hagman – aka JR Ewing – after news of his death at the age of 81 was announced.

The actor, who recently returned to screens in the revived version of the soap, passed away in a Dallas hospital on Friday from complications of throat cancer.

And his co-stars, as well as other celebrities, were quick to pay their respects.

Among those leading the tributes were co-star Linda Gray, who played his screen wife Sue Ellen Ewing in the soap, and who along with fellow star Patrick Duffy was at Hagman’s bedside when he passed away.

“Larry Hagman was my best friend for 35 years,” the actress said in a statement.

“He was the Pied Piper of life and brought joy to everyone he knew. He was creative, generous, funny, loving and talented and I will miss him enormously. He was an original and lived life to the full.”

Co-star Ken Kercheval – who plays Cliff Barnes – took to Twitter to express his thoughts, saying, “A friend and long-time partner…the other half…RIP Larry Hagman, your spirit will live long.”

Meanwhile TV channel TNT, who produced the new version of the show, said in a statement they were “deeply saddened” at the news.

“He was a wonderful human being and an extremely gifted actor,” the channel said. “We will be forever thankful that a whole new generation of people got to know and appreciate Larry through his performance as J.R. Ewing. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this very difficult time.”

Others who paid tribute included Star Trek’s William Shatner – who said “My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Larry Hagman. My best, Bill,” while Piers Morgan also took to Twitter, saying, “Very sad to hear that Larry Hagman has died. His JR Ewing character was the greatest TV villain of them all. Wonderful actor.”

Sharon Osbourne, meanwhile, tweeted, “So sad to hear about the passing of Larry Hagman. Sending love and respect to his family,” while Ronan Keating described the actor as a “legend”.