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MANTEO, N.C. (AP) -Andy Griffith, whose homespun mix of humor and wisdom made "The Andy Griffith Show" an enduring TV favorite, has died. He was 86.

Dare County, N.C. Sheriff Doug Doughtie says in a statement Griffith died Tuesday at about 7 a.m. He says the family will release further information.

His starring role as a small-town sheriff drew upon his own upbringing in Mount Airy, N.C. The show airs in reruns at 5:30 p.m. weekdays on 13WMAZ.

Griffith later played a shrewd Southern lawyer in another successful series, "Matlock."

Before taking on television, he won wide praise in the 1950s in the Broadway comedy "No Time for Sergeants" and the dramatic film, "A Face in the Crowd."

The Andy Griffith Show started airing in 1960 and was a spin-off from the Danny Thomas Show. The first run of the show lasted eight seasons, airing during primetime. Griffith left the show in 1968.

The show was about a widower Andy Taylor (Andy Griffith) who divided his time between raising his young son Opie, and his job as sheriff of the sleepy North Carolina town, Mayberry.

In 2000, Griffith underwent quadruple heart-bypass surgery. In 2007, he had hip surgery after a fall.

Reactions on Twitter


Ron Howard, who played Andy's son Opie, ?(@RealRonHoward) - "Andy Griffith His pursuit of excellence and the joy he took in creating served generations & shaped my life I'm forever grateful RIP Andy"

TV Land, which has honored Andy Griffith (@tvland) - "We are so saddened to hear about the loss of Andy Griffith, a cherished member of our @tvland family. He will be greatly missed :( #RIP"

Sportswriter Rick Reilly(@ReillyRick) - "1 of best days of my life was visiting Mt. Airy, NC, Andy Griffith's hometown. Had a fillin' station, diner + barber who looks like Floyd!"


Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock(@MorganSpurlock) - "RIP Andy Griffith, 1 of our most underrated actors, watch him as Lonesome Rhodes in A Face in the Crowd, my fave movie"


Actor Ralph Macchio (?@ralphmacchio) - "Take a moment and whistle 'The Andy Griffith Show' theme today - finger snap optional - RIP Andy Griffith

Rob Thomas, of Matchbox 20,(?@ThisIsRobThomas) - "just found out the ANDY GRIFFITH passed away. an american treasure. if you can, give a little whistle for him today."

The Recording Academy CEO Neil Portman says in a statement on Facebook:GRAMMY®winner Andy Griffith was an American television icon bringing beloved characters into family homes for more than 50 years with shows such as "The Andy Griffith Show" and "Matlock." In addition to acting, Griffith had a passion for music and recorded a number of albums, includingI Love To Tell The Story - 25 Timeless Hymns, which garnered him a GRAMMY Award for Best Southern Gospel, Country Gospel Or Bluegrass Gospel Album. He was an immense talent and a true gift to the entertainment industry and will be greatly missed.We extend our deepest sympathies to his family, friends and fans.

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