NASHVILLE, May 7 (UPI) -- Actor George Lindsey, famous for his work on TV's "Hee Haw" and "The Andy Griffith Show," has died in Nashville, Tenn., after a long illness, his family said.
He was 83.
The Tennessean newspaper confirmed the Alabama native died early Sunday but did report the specific cause of his death.
Griffith, who played Sheriff Andy Taylor to Lindsey's mechanic Goober Pyle on "The Andy Griffith Show," released a statement Sunday, expressing his sorrow at the loss of his longtime 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," Griffith said. "We would talk about our health, how much we missed our friends who passed before us and usually about something funny. I am happy to say that as we found ourselves in our 80s, 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.'"
Lindsey also appeared in the TV shows "M*A*S*H," "Gunsmoke," "Herbie the Love Bug" and "C.H.I.P.S.," as well as the movies "Take This Job and Shove It" and "Cannonball Run II." He served as a judge for the Miss USA pageant for years and lent his voice to animated characters in Disney's "The Aristocats," "The Rescuers" and "Robin Hood," The Tennessean said.