Dan Haggerty played Grizzly Adams on the NBC series which ran from 1977 78
The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams star Dan Haggerty has died.
Haggerty lost his battle to cancer Friday morning at age 74, PEOPLE confirms.
Haggery’s rep and friend of 20 years Terry Bomar told PEOPLE Haggerty was diagnosed with cancer in his spine in August after experiencing back pain in July.
“He fought hard,” Bomar said. “He had a great Thanksgiving, he had a great Christmas with his family.”
Bomar added that Haggerty was visited by his close friends and family in the hospital in his final days.
Bomar also provided PEOPLE with an official statement: “Dan Haggerty, a beloved father and friend, has died at 4:30 this morning at St. Joseph Hospital in Burbank, [California], surrounded by his family that loved him. … Dan was a beloved award winning actor in dozens of films and TV roles, but he will be remembered by millions of fans as the man who made Grizzly Adams famous. All the awards pale in comparison to his huge laugh and wonderful sense of humor that made everyone laugh with him. He would light up any room he entered. He loved life, loved his family, loved his friends and fans. The last words I heard him say were ‘I love you.’ ”
Bomar said there will be private services for the family and a public service to be determined at a later date.
On the NBC series, the actor played Grizzly Adams, a mountain man who rescues and cares for an abandoned grizzly bear named Ben. The show ran from 1977 78.
Haggerty was an animal trainer before he was an actor.
In 1978, Diane Rooker, Haggerty’s wife at the time, told PEOPLE he had “no appetite for Hollywood life.”
“We’ve had the same friends for years,” she added.
Haggerty also told PEOPLE about the time “Otis Chandler, the publisher of the Los Angeles Times, invited me to his house and then took me into his den to see the huge bear he’d shot and had stuffed.”
Haggerty continued, “I told him: ‘Hell, any jackass can point a gun at something and kill it. I got a bear that’s bigger than yours, and he rides around in the truck with me.’ ”