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Veteran television actor Larry Hagman, who was best known to viewers as J.R. Ewing on Dallas, has died at the age of 81.
His family confirmed his death to The Dallas Morning News. The actor had been battling cancer and died at Medical City in Dallas Friday.
“Larry was back in his beloved Dallas re-enacting the iconic role he loved most,” his family said in a statement to the Morning News. “Larry’s family and close friends had joined him in Dallas for the Thanksgiving holiday. When he passed, he was surrounded by loved ones. It was a peaceful passing, just as he had wished for. The family requests privacy at this time.”
Hagman became a star thanks to I Dream Of Jeannie, playing Capt. Tony Nelson from 1965 to 1970. He then took on the role of J.R. on Dallas, which ran on CBS from 1978 to 1991. He returned to the iconic role this year when TNT rebooted the series for a new generation.
According to Zap2It, Hagman filmed scenes for the early episodes of the second season of TNT’s Dallas reboot, which will premiere in January.
Warner Bros., which produces the reboot, issued a statement that read, “Larry Hagman was a giant, a larger-than-life personality whose iconic performance as J.R. Ewing will endure as one of the most indelible in entertainment history. He truly loved portraying this globally recognized character, and he leaves a legacy of entertainment, generosity and grace. Everyone at Warner Bros. and in the Dallas family is deeply saddened by Larry's passing, and our thoughts are with his family and dear friends during this difficult time.”
TNT has also issued a statement, sending their condolences to his family. “He was a wonderful human being and an extremely gifted actor. We will be forever thankful that a whole new generation of people got to know and appreciate Larry through his performance as J.R. Ewing,” the statement reads. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this very difficult time.”
Dallas co-star Victoria Principal told The AP Friday that Hagman was “bigger than life, on-screen and off.”
Back in 2000, while promoting his autobiography, TheCelebrityCafe.com asked Hagman if he could describe the true Larry Hagman. “You got me! I don't take anything very seriously, to tell you the truth. It's all very short lived. The whole of civilization, the whole of mankind, is a blink of an eye in the scheme of things on the conscious level.”
He is survived by his wife, Maj Axelsson, daughter Kristina, son Preston and five granddaughters.