Update: The AP has reported that Andy Griffith’s death on Tuesday was caused by a heart attack, according to his death certificate. The certificate, which was filed yesterday, also confirms that Griffith died at 7:00 a.m, and that he was buried in his family’s cemetery in Manteo, N.C.
Actor Andy Griffith, best known for his hit 1960s series The Andy Griffith Show and the legal drama Matlock, passed away this morning at the age of 86, according to MSNBC.
Griffith, a North Carolina native, made his film debut in the 1957 drama A Face in the Crowd. From 1960-1968, he starred as Sheriff Andy Taylor in The Andy Griffith Show, which also featured a young Ron Howard as Griffith’s son, Opie. After leaving the show, Griffith didn’t achieve widespread success until he played an Atlanta lawyer in Matlock, which ran from 1986-1995. In 2005, Griffith was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by George W. Bush.
Shortly after his death was announced, Ron Howard commented on his former co-star’s passing through his Twitter account:
Andy Griffith His pursuit of excellence and the joy he took in creating served generations & shaped my life I’m forever grateful RIP Andy
The news was reported first to North Carolina station WAVY by Bill Friday, a friend of Griffith’s. He is survived by his wife, Cindi, and his daughter, Dixie. Griffith’s son—Andrew Jr., who was also called Sam—died in 1996.
“Andy was a person of incredibly strong Christian faith and was prepared for the day he would be called Home to his Lord,” said his wife, Cindi.
Though the specific cause of death has not yet been made clear, a statement released by Griffith’s family confirmed that the death was due to “an illness” and that the iconic actor “has been laid to rest on his beloved Roanoke Island.”