November 30, 2017 2:34 pm
Updated: November 30, 2017 4:34 pm

Jim Nabors dead: Gomer Pyle on ‘Andy Griffith Show’ dies at 87

WATCH ABOVE: Jim Nabors, the actor who played Gomer Pyle on "The Andy Griffith Show" has passed away at the age of 87.

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The lights have dimmed in Mayberry.

Jim Nabors, the actor best-known for playing the character Gomer Pyle on The Andy Griffith Show in the 1960s, died at his home Thursday morning in Hawaii. He was 87.

Nabors’ partner of 38 years, Stan Cadwallader, told CBS News that Nabors’ health began to decline rapidly after Thanksgiving.

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He underwent a series of tests on Wednesday, but the decision was made to bring him home from the hospital. The coroner has not yet released Nabors’ cause of death, but Cadwallader said it appears to be from natural causes.

Nabors married Cadwallader in Washington in January 2013, one month after gay marriage became legal in the state. The couple met in 1975 when Cadwallader was a Honolulu firefighter.

Nabors’ Gomer Pyle, who used the words “shazam” and “golly” more often than any other TV character in history, won viewers over with his naive, affable personality.

Pyle was a harmless caricature of a southern simpleton and provided his own distinct form of comedy relief on the show.

Nabors played Pyle in The Andy Griffith Show and Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. in the spinoff comedy series. Nabors smartly secured 20 per cent of the Andy Griffith Show syndication revenue, which made him financially secure for life.

He also made appearances on The Love Boat, Knight Rider and The Carol Burnett Show. He hosted The Jim Nabors Hour from 1969 – 1971 at CBS.

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Nabors starred in several variety specials, and later in his career dedicated more time to music and singing. He performed onstage in Las Vegas and Reno, Nev., and his first album, Jim Nabors Sings, sold 1 million copies. He had difficulty separating himself from his famous TV character, and ultimately he never had much musical success in the U.S., despite producing more than 24 albums.

Nabors leaves behind Cadwallader and his two sisters, Freddie and Ruth.

With files from The Associated Press

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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