Ranieri left the relegation-threatened Cottagers on Thursday after just over three months in charge of the Premier League club.
The Italian, who masterminded Leicester’s stunning 2016 title success, oversaw just three wins in 16 league matches and leaves the club 19th in the table.
They are 10 points off safety with 10 games remaining but Crystal Palace boss Hodgson, himself a former Fulham manager, believes his old club have acted too hastily.
“I’m very sad, I’m very disappointed,” said Hodgson, speaking at the London Football Awards, an event which supports Willow. “He has my empathy, my condolences.
“I think it is a sad situation for someone like him, with his CV, someone who won the Premier League as recently as two-and-a-half-years ago, one of the most miraculous championship wins we have seen in Premier League history.
“I find it sad after as little as two or three months he has been shown the door by Fulham. It disappoints me Fulham, a club I really like, I have so much time for, have found it necessary to make this quite controversial decision.”
David Pleat, the former Tottenham and Leicester manager, was also surprised by the decision of Fulham chairman Shahid Khan.
He said: “It’s disappointing because I like him as a person. He’s a very calm, philosophical type of manager.
“You have to have a good chairman and a chairman that is responsible and understands the game enough to know that you can have bad times and bad games as well as good games.
“In football you don’t just win every game – that doesn’t happen – and Fulham were always going to be up against it because they got promotion with a group of players for whom the level was just a bit too high for them.”