Andy Griffith dies at 86 - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Andy Griffith dies at 86

The family of Andy Griffith announced he died at his North Carolina home Tuesday. (Source: Executive Office of the President of the United States) The family of Andy Griffith announced he died at his North Carolina home Tuesday. (Source: Executive Office of the President of the United States)

DARE CO., NC (RNN) - "America's Favorite Sheriff" and television icon Andy Griffith died at his home Tuesday.

The family confirmed the news with a brief statement relayed through Dare County Sheriff Doug Doughtie.

"Andy Griffith passed away at his home peacefully," Doughtie said. "He has been laid to rest on his beloved Roanoke Island."

Multiple news outlets reported Griffith, 86, had been taken by ambulance to the hospital around 7 a.m. The family will release further information, the Associated Press reported.

Griffith had suffered a heart attack and underwent quadruple bypass surgery in 2000.

The actor, writer, director, singer and producer was best known for The Andy Griffith Show, which ran from 1960 to 1968. Andy Taylor served the fictional town of Mayberry, NC, a place based on Griffith's hometown of Mount Airy, NC.

The series was a huge hit, with its final season finishing first in the Nielsen ratings. TV Guide named the CBS program the ninth-best television show in history.

In 1983, Griffith was stricken with Guillen-Barre syndrome, a muscular disease that left him partially paralyzed for three months. However, he made a full recovery and returned to acting after six months of private rehabilitation.

Griffith went back to TV in 1986 to play the title character in the show Matlock for nine seasons. He turned the role of a southern, old-fashioned lawyer in Atlanta who (almost) always wins into another classic character.

Prior to Andy Griffith, he showed his comedic chops with the monologue What It Was, Was Football in 1953. It became one of the best-selling comedy records of all time.

Griffith's breakout role came in the drama A Face in the Crowd (1957). He also starred in several TV movies and mini-series, including Murder in Texas (his lone Emmy nomination), Roots: The Next Generation and Fatal Vision.

He won a Grammy for his southern gospel album, Love to Tell the Story – 25 Timeless Hymns, in 1997. In 2005, President George W. Bush honored Griffith by presenting him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Ron Howard wrote about his former Andy Griffith co-star Tuesday on Twitter, saying, "His pursuit of excellence and the joy he took in creating served generations and shaped my life."

"I'm forever grateful," Howard said. "RIP Andy."

Copyright 2012 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

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