Bryan Cranston and Bob Odenkirk lead tributes to late Breaking Bad star Mark Margolis

Mark Margolis’s costars from Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul have paid tribute to the late actor after news of his death broke on Friday (4 August).

Margolis died Thursday (3 August) at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City following a short illness, his son announced.

He was best known for his Emmy-nominated turn as the malicious drug baron Hector Salamanca on the Cranston-led series Breaking Bad, later reprising his role in the show’s spin-off Better Caul Saul (starring Odenkirk).

“I am very saddened today to learn of a friend’s passing,” Cranston wrote on Instagram on Friday.

“Mark Margolis was a really good actor and a lovely human being. Fun and engaging off the set (and in the case of Breaking Bad and Your Honor), intimidating and frightening on set. His quiet nature belied his mischievous nature and curious mind…and he loved sharing a good joke.

“I miss him already. Rest now, Mark and thank you for your friendship and your exceptional body of work.”

On X (the social media platform formerly known as Twitter), Odenkirk wrote: “A powerful screen presence! Mark made me laugh in the van on the way to set with his jokes and comments and I only hope I have half his energy and focus when ‘Action’ was shouted. Thank you, Mark, and condolences to your family.”

Michael Mando, who played Nacho Varga on Better Call Saul wrote on Instagram: “It is with such a heavy heart that I process your passing my friend… Mark, getting to know you over the seasons and years has been one of the most enriching experiences of my career.

“You’ve deepened my understanding of this art form – your no BS attitude has deepened my understanding of life and what matters. The very last thing you told me, before I exited the honey wagon in S6 was, ‘I really didn’t want to like your character… but I do.’ I can’t tell you how much that meant to me… You’re a legend and a strong, beautiful soul. I’m in tears and have no words but LOVE.”

Meanwhile, Breaking Bad‘s official Twitter page shared: “We join millions of fans in mourning the passing of the immensely talented Mark Margolis, who – with his eyes, a bell, and very few words – turned Hector Salamanca into one of the most unforgettable characters in the history of television. He will be missed.”

Peter Gould, co-creator and co-showrunner of Saul who also was a writer, director and producer on Breaking Bad, posted on X: “Absolutely devastated to hear that we’ve lost Mark Margolis. Mark was brilliant, funny, a raconteur with a million stories. I miss him already.”

Despite the fact that his character is paralysed and unable to speak, Margolis made a deep impression on the series. In the series four episode “Hermanos”, his character’s history was deepened in an extensive flashback, which showed him to be responsible for the death of Max Arciniega, Gus Fring’s (Giancarlo Esposito) partner.

“I was only coming onto Breaking Bad as far as I knew for that one episode, but there’s no accounting for taste, and the fans took a fancy to me,” he said. “Somebody asked me recently, ‘How did you manage to play such a horrible guy?’ and I said, ‘Have you talked to my friends?’ They’ll tell you I’m pretty miserable to begin with.”

His turn on the show earned him an Emmy nomination in 2012 for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series.

He is survived by his wife, Jacqueline Margolis (née Petcove), his son, actor Morgan H Margolis, and two grandchildren.