A North Carolina icon has died. Andy Griffith passed away this morning at his home in Dare County.
The actor's death was first confirmed by former UNC President Bill Friday and later by Dare County Sheriff Doug Doughtie.
Friday told us the 86-year-old actor died at his Roanoke Island home around 7:00 a.m. this morning.
Griffith was born in Mount Airy and attended UNC Chapel Hill where he earned a degree in Music. His first job out of college was choral director at Goldsboro High School.
His legacy role, which earned him the title of "America's Favorite Sheriff"on "The Andy Griffith" show, set in fictional Mayberry, put North Carolina on the map in the entertainment industry. The show ran from 1960-1968, propelling a handful of spin-off programs. Griffith also produced and starred in the television series "Matlock."
Visiting Eastern Carolina this morning, U.S. Senator Kay Hagan says Griffith was an iconic figure in the state. "His show was known not only in our nation, but around the world," Hagan told WITN's Brittany Creamer. "My thoughts and prayers are with his family."
Lt. Governor Walter Dalton called Griffith a true legend. "I have been a longtime fan and it was my pleasure to come to know him," said Dalton in a statement. "Andy Griffith was not only an icon for North Carolina, but he was a genuine person and a true gentleman. Lucille and a send our thoughts and prayers to Cindi and the entire Griffith family."
Griffith received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005 from President George W. Bush.