America’s favorite small town sheriff Andy Griffith is dead at 86. TV legend Andy Griffith died shortly after being transported to the hospital by ambulance in the early hours of Friday morning.

Emergency medical responders were called to Andy Griffith’s home in Roanoke Island, North Carolina on Tuesday morning, according to Dare County Sherrif J.D. “Doug” Doughtie. The Matlock star was taken to the hospital by ambulance, but was delcared dead around 7AM.

University of North Carolina President Bill Friday, a longtime friend of the actor, confirmed Andy Griffith died in a press statement to WITN. He said he was contacted by the star’s secretary Tuesday morning and informed of Griffith’s death.

Andy Griffith, who died at age 86, was most well-known for his starring role as the small town sheriff in The Andy Griffith Show, which ran from 1960 to 1968, and became one of the most loved and watched television shows of its time. The show took place in the fictional town of Mayberry, which was modeled after Griffith’s own hometown of Mount Airy, North Carolina.

Griffith also portrayed the title role in the hit series Matlock, which ran for nine seasons. He starred in a variety of TV movies and mini-series, and won a Grammy for his gospel album, Love to Tell the Story – 25 Timeless Hymns.

As former Andy Griffith co-star and acclaimed director Ron Howard said via Twitter on Tuesday, “RIP Andy.”

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