By Rachel Yang
December 13, 2020 at 11:06 PM EST
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Credit: Dave J Hogan/Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

Florence Pugh is mourning the loss of her friend John le Carré, the legendary author who died Saturday at 89.

The intelligence-officer-turned-spy-novelist was known for his Cold War thrillers, many of which were adapted for film and television, such as Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Constant Gardener, and The Night Manager.

Pugh starred in the 2018 miniseries adaptation of Le Carré's The Little Drummer Girl.

"Not this beautiful man too. Just heard the news of the legend John le Carré’s passing and my chest is heavy," Pugh wrote on Instagram, alongside a photo of the two. "I was lucky enough to meet this man, drink with this man AND work with this man! I still pinch myself about our friendship to this day."

Pugh recounted the first time they met, in the last few days of filming the show, and how she was "so nervous" to meet Le Carré.

"I remember sitting down next to him at dinner and after a while of back and forth, realising that we were both trying to figure each other out," she wrote. "Sizing one another up, testing and teasing each other constantly. Until, I called him an old fart. I watched his eyes light up with glee and we both cackled until we cried. He peered at me over his glass and giggled, 'I think we’re going to get along just fine.' We knew a magical friendship had arrived."

She continued, "I sat and listened as he told story after story of his incredible and totally thrilling life, then when I thought he was most surely done, he went on to say that that was only the beginning and that I should eat because there was a lot more to tell. It seems silly to say I was enticed by a story teller telling his stories.. but I really was. Am. Will be forever.

"My heart hurts that I won’t get to gaze and listen to this incredible man talk and talk into early hours," Pugh wrote, "or that I won’t get to sip on my martini and tell him he’s an old fart for old times sake and wait for him to erupt into large naughty cackles again. David, I shall hear you in your writing, drink to you with a martini and thank the stars for our paths crossing. RIP David Cornwall, aka... THE John le Carré."

Gary Oldman, who starred as protagonist George Smiley in 2011's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, called le Carré "the true Spy Master" in a statement to EW.

"For me, John Le Carre was many things," Oldman said. "He was, of course, a very great author, the true 'owner' of the serious, adult, complicated spy novel — he actually owned the genre. All who follow are in his debt."

Oldman continued, "His characters were drawn deftly and deeply, nuances too many to count, and for me, inhabiting George Smiley remains one of the highpoints of my life. I got to know David a little bit, over conversations, lunches, and his visit to the set. Amazingly, he was always at the other end of the phone if we had a question, or needed a line or to confirm if a character might say something specific. He always had immediate answers. He was generous with his creativity, and always a true gentleman. The true Spy Master of several generations has left us. But George Smiley and the others live on. Thank you David."

Fellow writers such as Stephen King and Neil Gaiman also mourned Le Carré's loss.

"This terrible year has claimed a literary giant and a humanitarian spirit," King tweeted.

"I'm so sorry to hear this," Gaiman wrote. "My sympathies to his family."

British historian and writer Simon Sebag Montefiore championed Le Carré as not only a great spy novelist, but a "titan of English literature up there with the greats."

Here are more tributes to Le Carré:

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