Hilarie Burton Shares Tattoo She Got for Willie Garson Prior to His Death

The friends worked together on 'White Collar' for three years.

Hilarie Burton is mourning the loss of her dear friend and White Collar co-star, Willie Garson. Garson died at the age of 57 earlier this week following a brief illness. People reported that he was suffering from pancreatic cancer. 

The 39-year-old actress took to Instagram to honor Garson in a touching post. 

Noting that her phone has been ringing non-stop since the news broke, Burton wrote, "The world knows that @willie.garson has been a pivotal player in my life. So I will not be able to fully articulate my feelings here. I’m gonna need some time. @jeffreydeanmorgan and I are devastated."

She went on to call Garson "deeply thoughtful," "intentional with his effort and attention and devotion." 

She recalled Garson's wedding gift to her that brought her to tears -- a first edition copy of The Grapes of Wrath

"He would pay you the biggest compliment in the world. Tell you that you were the smartest or prettiest or most talented or that your book/show/recipe/charity, etc mattered and was valuable," she recalled. "And right as you’d blush, he’d temper it with 'alright, calm down!' And then laughter. He’d stop you before you could rebuff the compliment. Calm down. I can hear him saying it."

Burton said the phrase meant so much to her that she got it tattooed on her arm before seeing her friend for the last time. 

"Before I went to see him, I needed him to know how I felt. And @hudsonvalleytattooco was so kind and understanding and got me in the night before my flight," she continued. "I wanted Willie to know that I was carrying that 'calm down' with me forever."

Burton also promised Garson that she'd help to get his memoir and stories as a character actor published, noting that he'd written the book and asked that she help his family to publish it. 

"To Willie’s family, especially @nathen_garson , …on my honor I will see it through. You have been so generous in sharing him with the rest of us. Love you," she concluded the post. 

Burton and Garson worked together on White Collar. Garson played Mozzie throughout the show's six-season run while Burton joined the cast as Sara Ellis from 2010 to 2013. 

Following the news of his death, many of Garson's celebrity friends and co-workers spoke out about the loss. 

His Sex and the City co-stars Mario Cantone, Cynthia Nixon, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, and Chris Both all spoke out. Sarah Jessica Parker commented on Noth's post, writing, "Thank you dearest Chris. I'm not ready yet. Xxx."