Actor and comedian George Lindsey -- Goober on TV's "Andy Griffith Show" -- died early Sunday morning after an extended illness, his family announced.
He was 83 years old.
Lindsey auditioned for the role of Gomer Pyle, but fellow actor and Alabama native Jim Nabors ended up with the part. When Nabors got his own show later, Lindsey was approached about resuming his role of Goober, which he did for the next five years.
"George Lindsey was my friend," said Griffith in a statement released Sunday. "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. 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 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.'"
When "The Andy Griffith Show" was canceled, several actors including Lindsay reprised their roles in the spinoff "Mayberry R.F.D."
Lindsey also appeared in the TV programs such as "Hee-Haw," "The Rifleman," "Twilight Zone" and "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour." and was in several Disney movies.
Lindsey worked as a fund-raiser for the Special Olympics, and held a celebrity golf tournament for more than a decade which raised money for mentally disabled children.
Born in Fairfield, Alabama, Lindsay grew up in the small town of Jasper. He'll be buried there, the station said, but funeral arrangements are still incomplete.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story had an incorrect age for Lindsey.