Report: Andy Griffith, Famed Television Sheriff, Dies at 86

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Andy Griffith at the Freedom Awards ceremony at the White House on Nov. 9, 2005

[UPDATED: 1:00 p.m.]

Television icon Andy Griffith died on July 3 at his North Carolina home, according to WITN. He was 86. Griffith’s close friend and former University of North Carolina president Bill Friday confirmed his death, telling the news station that Griffith passed away at 7 a.m.

An emergency medical crew responded to a call from Griffith’s home in Manteo, N.C., Dare County Sheriff Doug Doughtie told WAVY. In a later statement, Sheriff Doughtie affirmed Griffith’s death, explaing that the actor “passed away at his home, peacefully. He has been laid to rest on his beloved Roanoke Island.”

The cause of death is not yet known, though Griffith had a history of health problems. He suffered a heart attack in 2000, after which he had quadruple bypass surgery. In 2006 he broke his hip in a fall and spent at least two weeks in the hospital.

Griffith, a native of Mount Airy, N.C., put the Southern state on the map with his eponymous prime-time program The Andy Griffith Show, set in the fictional town of Mayberry, N.C. He starred as the tiny town’s beloved sheriff, accompanied by his inept deputy Barney Fife. The show was a ratings hit throughout its eight seasons, producing a number of spin-offs and launching Griffith into larger productions. He starred as the charming Southern lawyer Matlock on that eponymous show in the late 1980s and early ’90s.