Andy Griffith as Sheriff Andy Taylor on "The Andy Griffith Show."

Andy Griffith as Sheriff Andy Taylor on "The Andy Griffith Show." (CBS/Landov / July 3, 2012)

MANTEO, N.C. -- Actor Andy Griffith, the man who played folksy Sheriff Andy Taylor in the fictional town of Mayberry, died Tuesday at the age of 86, his family said.

Griffith died at about 7 a.m. at his home on Roanoke Island, according to Dare County, North Carolina, Sheriff J.D. "Doug" Doughtie.

According to his death certificate Griffith died from complication of a heart attack he suffered about 24 hours earlier.

The actor struggled with a number of illnesses in his later years, including coronary artery disease, hypertension and hyperlipidemia.

Griffith's body was buried in the family cemetery on the island just hours after his death.

"It had been planned for some time," said a funeral home spokesperson.

"This was the wish of his family."

But the speed with which the public learned of his death and was informed of his burial seemed especially fast, according to some observers.

"It's not very common," said Larry F. Stegall, executive director of the state's Funeral Directors Association. "I don't recall having heard of it, and I've been here 32 years."

Traditional funeral customs often allow for a more extended period between death and burial, so family and friends may have more opportunity to visit and pay their respects.

Still, said Stegall, "the family's wishes are always abided by."

"Andy was a person of incredibly strong Christian faith and was prepared for the day he would be called Home to his Lord," Griffith's wife, Cindi, said in a statement on Tuesday.

Born in Mount Airy, North Carolina, in 1926, Griffith was a 1949 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he received a degree in music.

A member of the Television Hall of Fame, Griffith also was inducted into the Christian Music Hall of Fame and Museum in 2007.

His 1996 album, "I Love to Tell the Story -- 25 Timeless Hymns," netted him a Grammy Award.

"Andy was a person of incredibly strong Christian faith and was prepared for the day he would be called Home to his Lord," his wife, Cindi Griffith, said in the statement issued through the Andy Griffith Museum in Mount Airy, North Carolina.



Best known for his role on "The Andy Griffith Show," the actor also starred as a murder-solving Southern attorney in the television series "Matlock" during the 1980s and 1990s.