Andy Griffith Dies at 86, 'Matlock' Actor Mourned by Many

Andy Griffith died at age 86 at his home in Roanoke Island in Dare County, North Carolina, and people all over are expressing heartfelt sentiments at the actor's sudden passing.

Andy Griffith, renowned for his various stints on television and in movies, was perhaps best known for his role as "America's Favorite Sheriff" on the widely popular "The Andy Griffith Show." He also produced, directed, wrote, and starred in the courtroom drama "Matlock" from 1986 to 1995.

Griffith was reported dead by his friend, Bill Friday, who first told the news to WITN in North Carolina. The former UNC president told reporters that the actor died at about 7 a.m. today, and according to reports, the death was most likely of natural causes.

Emergency services were called to the actor's home this morning, but he could not be revived, Dare County Sheriff J.D. Doughtie told News of the "Mayberry R.F.D." actor's sudden death spread across social media networks quickly, and many took the time to say a few words to the late celebrity.

"Andy Griffith His pursuit of excellence and the joy he took in creating served generations & shaped my life I'm forever grateful RIP Andy," posted Ron Howard on his Twitter account. He was a close friend of the 86-year-old since their time on "Make Room For Daddy" and "The Andy Griffith Show."

Phillip Phillips, the "American Idol" winner, also paid his respects.

"Cant believe Andy Griffith passed away today. Loved his show. Prayers go out to the family. Use to watch it all the time with my papa," the singer tweeted.

Griffith's death appeared to be sudden, as the last major health issue he overcame was in 2007. Then, he had hip surgery after a fall. Before that in 2000, quadruple-heart bypass. His health problems first began in 1983, when he diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome and was restricted to a wheelchair for seven months.

Reports allege Griffith died of natural causes.