By Emily Exton
Updated October 01, 2010 at 07:58 PM EDT

Friends and celebrity fans of television legend Stephen J. Cannell have issued comments — or taken to their Twitter accounts — to mourn the late writer and producer, who died Thursday at 69 years old. Here’s what they’ve said:

Kevin Spacey, who starred in Cannell’s Wiseguy, to EW: “Stephen J. Cannell gave me my very first break in television when he cast me as Mel Profitt in the CBS series Wiseguy [in] 1997. The character was such a glorious creation on such a terrific series, which led to so many other opportunities for me as an actor, that I will never forget his grace, wit, style of writing and ability to bring such memorable work to television. From Rockford Files to Black Sheep Squadron, his impact on emerging writing talent – which he always gave support toward – continues to bring great writing to actors and directors in the film industry. He has left a huge legacy that his family, friends and colleagues can take great pride in. He was a giant.”

William Katt, star of Cannell’s The Greatest American Hero, to EW: “More than the extraordinary writing talent that everyone in the industry knew Stephen as, I will remember him for being one of the best people I have ever had the privilege to know. A beautiful man, a compassionate soul, an excellent friend, he was one of the greatest mentors in my life. I will miss him terribly.”

Lorenzo Lamas, star of Cannell’s Renegade, to EW: “A rare combination of creative genius and humility. Above all else, a true gentleman, whose graciousness allowed me and many other actors to further their artistic dreams. I have auditioned for many writers and producers in my career, but Stephen stepped up and gave me the biggest role of my lifetime. He will be missed.”

Rob Estes, who starred in Cannell’s Silk Stalkings, to EW: “Stephen brought a down-to-earth and human touch to every aspect of his life, including his producing. He was a wonderful mentor and a wonderful friend.”

Patton Oswalt: “In memory of Stephen J. Cannell, everyone rip a sheet of paper out of your typewriter and let it fall to the ground.”

Jeri Ryan: “Wow. Rest in Peace, Stephen J. Cannell. The man was a tv legend.”

Holly Robinson Peete: “Rest In Peace Stephen J. Cannell…thank you for taking a chance on me in ’86…I will never forget you, I love you…”

Gregg Hurwitz: “Stephen Cannell passed away today. The ultimate gentleman. Rest in peace.”

Frank Conniff: “And so Celebrity Carnage Week ends with the death of one more talented individual. Rest In Peace, Stephen J. Cannell.”

Robin Leach: “Stephen Cannell was loved in Hollywood as a real standup guy and gentle-man. Tragic death at just 69 years of age from melanoma.”

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