Television icon Andy Griffith has died at 86. Â His death was confirmed in a statement from the Dare County, N.C., sheriff’s office.
Griffith died at his home on Roanoke Island, Dare County, N.C., at approximately 7 a.m.
“Andy Griffith passed away, after an illness … Mr. Griffith has been laid to rest on his beloved Roanoke Island,” explained a statement from Griffith’s family.
“Andy was a person of incredibly strong Christian faith and was prepared for the day he would be called Home to his Lord,” the actor’s wife, Cindi Griffith, said in a statement.
CBS News correspondent Bill Whitaker reports that while Griffith’s long career stretched from nightclubs to radio to movies to music, it was a role as a small-town sheriff that made him beloved to millions of Americans.
Â Viewers tuned in to “The Andy Griffith Show” not to watch Sheriff Andy Taylor solve big crimes, but to watch him solve the little problems of life in the fictional Mayberry, N.C. Don Knotts played Deputy Barney Fife, and Jim Nabors portrayed Gomer Pyle, the gas pumper. Most critics consider the show, which ran from 1960 to 1968, one of the top four or five sitcoms ever shown on television.
CBS’ “The Andy Griffith Show” was one of only three series in history to end its run at the top of the ratings. “I Love Lucy” and “Seinfeld” also bowed out on top. Griffith said he decided to end the show “because I thought it was slipping, and I didn’t want it to go down further,” reports The Associated Press.
The actor’s agent did not immediately respond to requests for comment.