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Dallas icon Larry Hagman dies

Published: 5:41PM Saturday November 24, 2012 Source: ONE News

  • Actor Larry Hagman talks about his returning role as J.R. Ewing in 'Dallas'.  (Source: BBC)
    Actor Larry Hagman talks about his returning role as J.R. Ewing in 'Dallas'. - Source: BBC

Dallas icon Larry Hagman has died, aged 81.

The actor, best known for portraying JR Ewing in the hit US drama, passed away last night.

He had been battling throat cancer.

Hagman revealed he had been diagnosed with the disease in 2011 shortly after it was announced that a Dallas re-make was in the pipeline. He has since been receiving treatment, and announced earlier this year that he had "beat that thing".

"I am in remission now. All good," he was reported as saying.

He had been optimistic about the future and spoke about how he was fighting the condition by becoming a vegan.

However, the Hagman family released a statement last night announcing the death of the veteran actor.

"Larry was back in his beloved Dallas, re-enacting the iconic role he loved most," the statement said.

"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."

It was also reported that Hagman's closest co-stars, Linda Gray and Patrick Duffy, who played wife Sue Ellen and brother Bobby, were also at his bedside.

Gray's agent Jeffrey Lane said: "They had been friends for 35 years and they had worked together for many years so obviously it is devastating. She called and told me. She sounded very sad."

Praying tribute to the Dallas icon, Gray said: "Larry Hagman was my best friend for 35 years.

"He was the Pied Piper of life and brought joy to everyone who knew him.

"He was creative, generous, funny, loving and talented. I'll miss him enormously."

Hagman's 'Who shot JR' story was among the most followed plotlines in 1980s television, with 350 million viewers tuning in to the episode in which his shooter was revealed.

The actor was born in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1931. He married Swedish-born Maj Axelsson in 1954 and the couple had two children - Heidi Kristina and Preston. His wife of 58 years is currently battling Alzheimer's.

Hagman openly admitted to alcohol problems during his career, speaking about how he would often drink bottles of champagne on set. His alcoholism led to him having a life-saving liver transplant in 1995.