Linda Gray: I Will Miss My Best Friend Larry Hagman
11/24/2012 AT 02:05 PM EST
"Larry Hagman was my best friend for 35 years. He was the Pied Piper of life and brought joy to everyone he knew," Gray said in a statement released to PEOPLE Saturday. "He was creative, generous, funny, loving and talented and I will miss him enormously. He was an original and lived life to the fullest. The world was a brighter place because of Larry."
The actress, 72, played Sue Ellen Ewing, the wife of Hagman's notorious oilman J.R. Ewing, on Dallas beginning in 1978. She also appeared in the TNT reboot.
Her costar Jesse Metcalfe, who plays Christopher Ewing on the new version of the soap, also spoke out about Hagman's death at 81.
"It was truly an honor to share the screen with Mr. Larry Hagman. With piercing wit and undeniable charm he brought to life one of the most legendary television characters of all time," Metcalfe said. "But to know the man, however briefly, was to know a passion and dedication for life and acting that was profoundly inspirational."