Andy Griffith, one of television's most beloved stars has died at the age of 86. The cause of death is not immediately known, but according to a long time friend, Bill Friday, Griffith passed away at his home in Manteo, North Carolina, earlier this morning. Griffith became a household name thanks to the Andy Griffith Show which debuted in 1960 and was actually a spinoff from Danny Thomas' Make Room For Daddy. It was in an episode of Daddy that Griffith first appeared as a Sheriff in a small town in North Carolina when he pulled over Thomas' character for speeding and that episode was kind of a backdoor pilot for the Andy Griffith Show.

Griffith starred as Sheriff Andy Taylor in the fictitious town of Mayberry, North Carolina, from 1960-1968, a show that is just as popular today in syndication as it ever was. Interestingly, Griffith was never nominated for an Emmy Award during the show's run even though co-stars Don Knotts (Barney Fife) and Francis Bavier (Aunt Bea) won multiple Emmy's.

Griffith began his career as a monologist, delivering long stories like What It Was, Was Football that was actually released as a single in 1953. Griffith was also a stand up comedian and a Grammy Award winning Southern Gospel singer.

Griffith also starred in Matlock and made guest appearances on Dawson's Creek and even appeared with Brad Paisley in the video for Paisley's Waitin' On A Woman. There is a statue of Andy and Opie, (played by Ron Howard) in Raleigh, North Carolina.

From all of us at WKDQ - this has come as a shock and it is with heavy hearts that we pass along this news. Griffith was a pioneer in his craft and remains one of the most beloved television character actors that has ever graced our TV sets. His work spans generations and set the bar for moral standards, family values and small town life which is a phenomenon in today's world. We will continue to bring you updates as we receive them.