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Andy Griffith Dead At 86

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Jul. 3 2012, Published 4:00 a.m. ET

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By Alexis Tereszcuk - Entertainment Editor

It’s a sad day in Mayberry.  Beloved actor Andy Griffith died on Tuesday in his North Carolina home. He was 86.

Best known for playing the small town sheriff Andy Taylor on The Andy Griffith Show, he also starred in Mayberry R.F.D. and Matlock.

Ron Howard -- who became a child star on The Andy Griffith Show, playing his son Opie – took to twitter to express his loss. “Andy Griffith His pursuit of excellence and the joy he took in creating served generations & shaped my life I'm forever grateful RIP Andy,” he wrote.

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A North Carolina native, Griffith was a UNC Chapel Hill graduate with a degree in music. 

Former UNC President Bill Friday confirmed to WITN News that his longtime friend passed away around 7am Tuesday.

His co-star George Lindsey, who played Goober Pyle, died in May and Andy released a touching statement about his friend.

"I had great respect for his talent and his human spirit. In recent years, we spoke often by telephone. Our last conversation was a few days ago...I am happy to say that as we found ourselves in our eighties, we were not afraid to say, 'I love you.' That was the last thing George and I had to say to each other: 'I love you'."

Andy is survived by his wife Cindi Knight and daughter Dixie Nan.

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