'Dallas' actor Larry Hagman dead at 81


Linda Gray, Hagman's co-star in the 1980s series "Dallas," released a statement through her agent:

"Larry Hagman was my best friend for 35 years," she said. "He was the pied piper of life and brought joy to everyone he knew. He was creative, generous, funny, loving and talented and I will miss him enormously. He was an original and lived life to the full. The world was a brighter place because of Larry Hagman."

Jeffrey Lane, Gray's agent, said Hagman died sometime Friday afternoon and that Gray was at Hagman's bedside.

Hagman, who played evil oil baron J.R. Ewing on "Dallas," revealed late last year that he was battling throat cancer.

The actor had also battled several health problems in the past. After years of heavy drinking, doctors discovered a malignant tumor in his liver in 1995. He underwent a liver transplant.

Hagman was reprising his role as Ewing on TNT's reboot of "Dallas." The cast filmed the show last year while Hagman underwent treatment for cancer. The show premiered June 13.

Hagman also had a small role on "Desperate Housewives" in 2011.

In addition to his own health battle, Hagman had been taking care of his wife of some 58 years, Swedish-born Maj Axelsson, who suffers from Alzheimer's disease and requires 24-hour nursing care. The couple has two children.

"Larry was back in his beloved Dallas re-enacting the iconic role he loved most," his family said in a written statement reported in the "Dallas Morning News" Friday night. "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."

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