Andy Griffith dies at 86

The television icon passed away in his home in Dare County, North Carolina early Tuesday morning. Details about the cause of death have not been released at this time, but Dare County Sheriff Doug Doughtie confirmed that an ambulance was sent to his home at 7am.

He had been dealing with health issues since 1983 when he was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome.

This disorder affects the nervous system and left him dealing with chronic pain. In 1996 Griffith told Guidepost magazine, “Guillain-Barré has left me with permanent pain in both feet, but like an unwelcome guest, it isn’t so bad when I stop paying attention to it. Challenges and pain will continue all my life, I know, but with Cindi at my side to remind me to accept God’s grace, I’ll go forward and continue to work with love and happiness.”

In 2000, he suffered a heart attack and had quadruple bypass surgery.

Andy Griffith will remain one of television’s legendary stars, remembered first for his eight year role as Sheriff Andy Taylor in The Andy Griffith Show, followed closely by his nine years playing Matlock on the beloved TV show of the same name.

Upon hearing of his death, Ron Howard, who played his son on The Andy Griffith Show, took to Twitter to share his condolences, tweeting: “Andy Griffith. His pursuit of excellence and the joy he took in creating served generations and shaped my life. I’m forever grateful. RIP Andy.”

Griffith was not only an actor, but he also had a successful singing career. His 1996 album I Love to Tell the Story: 25 Timeless Hymns went platinum.

Although he never won an award for his role as Sheriff Andy Taylor, he won the People’s Choice Award in 1987 for Matlock. In 2004 he also recieved the TV Land Legend Award, and in 2005 George W. Bush presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

He is survived by his wife Cindi and daughter Dixie.

Watch a clip from The Andy Griffith Show below:

Watch an episode of Matlock entitled “The Biker”:

Sources: Huffington Post, Today

Photo ©Associated Press/Nick Ut