Adam West had a breakout role as Batman in the iconic 1960s TV series. And on Saturday, his former Batman costars took time to remember the late actor — who died Friday after a short battle with leukemia at the age of 88.
Burt Ward, who starred alongside West as Batman’s sidekick Robin, told PEOPLE in a statement that he was “devastated at the loss” of one of his “very dearest friends.”
“Adam and I had a special friendship for more than 50 years,” Ward, 71, said. “We shared some of the most fun times of our lives together; our families have deep love and respect for each other. This is a terribly unexpected loss of my lifelong friend, I will forever miss him.”
“There are several fine actors who have portrayed Batman in films, in my eyes there was only one real Batman and that is and always will be Adam West; He was truly the Bright Knight,” Ward continued.
Julie Newmar, who played Batman’s foe Catwoman, echoed Ward.
“Stellar, exemplar, a king to the end,” the 83-year-old told PEOPLE in a statement. “He was bright, witty and fun to work with. I will miss him in the physical world and savor him always in the world of imagination and creativity. He meant so much to people – A friend said: ‘The father that we wanted.’ That is a great gift, no matter how you live it.”
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West is best remembered for his turn as Gotham’s Caped Crusader — though his career spanned six decades of film, stage and voice work.
He previously told PEOPLE how lucky he was to land the role of Batman and the legacy he would be leaving behind.
“[I’m] really a lucky actor because I was able to be part of something that has that kind of longevity that you talk about,” he said. “And I think that with each succeeding generation, the kids can watch with their parents or grandparents, and the kids grow up remembering the show well. And they pass it on to their kids.”
“Our dad always saw himself as The Bright Knight and aspired to make a positive impact on his fans’ lives,” his family said in a statement. “He was and always will be our hero.”