Eric Lawson, best known for portraying the Marlboro Man in cigarette ads during the late 1970s, has died, according to The Associated Press. He was 72.
Lawson died on Jan. 10 at his California home from respiratory failure due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), his wife Susan said.
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Lawson was a minor television actor when he became the iconic cigarette-smoking cowboy for the Marlboro print ads from 1978 to 1981. He went on to appear on television shows, including Charlie's Angels,Dynasty and Baywatch. He also appeared in an anti-smoking commercial that parodied the Marlboro Man, as well as an Entertainment Tonight segment where he talked about the negative effects of smoking.
Lawson, who began smoking at age 14, is the third former Marlboro ad man to die from a smoking-related disease. David Millar died of emphysema in 1987 and David McLean died of lung cancer in 1995.
Lawson is survived by his wife, six children, 18 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.