07/03/2012 04:04 pm ET Updated Jul 03, 2012

President Obama Issues Statement On Andy Griffith's Death

News of television icon Andy Griffith's death reached the White House on Tuesday afternoon, and President Barack Obama released a heartfelt statement about the actor's passing:

Michelle and I were saddened to hear about the passing of Andy Griffith this morning. A performer of extraordinary talent, Andy was beloved by generations of fans and revered by entertainers who followed in his footsteps. He brought us characters from Sheriff Andy Taylor to Ben Matlock, and in the process, warmed the hearts of Americans everywhere. Our thoughts and prayers are with Andy’s family.

Griffith passed away early Tuesday morning at the age of 86 -- details surrounding his cause of death have not been released at this time. The actor was best known as Sheriff Andy Taylor on "The Andy Griffith Show," and later as a criminal defense attorney on "Matlock."

The actor was an Obama supporter and his last television appearance was a 30-second message promoting The Affordable Health Care Act.

News of his death was met with an outpouring of emotion from fans and Hollywood peers.

Actor-director Ron Howard, who played Griffith's son, Opie, on "The Andy Griffith Show," took to Twitter shortly after the news broke with a touching message about the actor's passing.

"Andy Griffith His pursuit of excellence and the joy he took in creating served generations & shaped my life I'm forever gratefulRIP Andy," he wrote.

Griffith joins other iconic celebrities, such as Michael Jackson, Dick Clark and Donna Summer, who've received a statement from President Obama following their deaths.

Celebrities remember Andy Griffith:

Celebrities Remember Andy Griffith