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Andy Griffith Dead: Actor Best Known For Playing Sheriff Andy Taylor Dies At 86 (VIDEO)

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Actor Andy Griffith talking about his future television plans in Los Angels, March 23, 1987. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
Actor Andy Griffith talking about his future television plans in Los Angels, March 23, 1987. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

Actor Andy Griffith died on Tuesday morning in Dare County, North Carolina, reports WITN.com.

Dare County Sheriff Doug Doughtie confirmed to the website that an ambulance went to the 86-year-old's home at 7 a.m. this morning.

Griffith's good friend and former President of the University of North Carolina, Bill Friday, told WITN that the actor had passed away. The AP and CNN also confirmed the news. Details surrounding the actor's cause of death have not been released at this time.

Griffith was best known for his role as Sheriff Andy Taylor in “The Andy Griffith Show,” which ran from 1960 to 1968, and later known for his role as a criminal defense lawyer on "Matlock," which ran from 1986 to 1995. The actor was honored with the the TV Land Legend Award in 2004, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by George W. Bush in 2005. Griffith was also a singer and musician, and his 1996 album "I Love to Tell the Story: 25 Timeless Hymns" went platinum.

After learning of Griffith's death, actor/director Ron Howard, who played Griffith's son on "The Andy Griffith Show," took to Twitter with a heartfelt message about the actor's passing:

The television icon had been dealing with health issues for years. In 1983, Griffith was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome -- a disorder that affects the nervous system.

"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," he told Guideposts magazine in 1996.

In May 2000, he underwent quadruple bypass surgery after suffering a heart attack.

He is survived by wife Cindi and his daughter Dixie. Son Andrew Jr., known as Sam, died in 1996, reports MSNBC.

In her own statement issued on Tuesday, Cindi Griffith said, "Andy was a person of incredibly strong Christian faith and was prepared for the day he would be called Home to his Lord. He is the love of my life, my constant companion, my partner, my best friend. I cannot imagine life without Andy, but I take comfort and strength in God's Grace and in the knowledge that Andy is at peace and with God."

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