A day after ‘Leave It to Beaver’ star Tony Dow was mistakenly pronounced dead, his son released confirmation on Wednesday saying his father had passed away after a long health battle in hospice care. He was 77 years old.
The actor and director was best known for his role as older brother Wally Cleaver on the hit series.
“We know the world is collectively saddened by the loss of this incredible man,” read a statement posted on the actor’s official Facebook page. “He gave so much to all of us and was loved by so many. One fan said it best: ‘Rarely is there someone as universally beloved as Tony.'”
Dow representatives previously released a statement announcing the beloved actor’s passing.
His wife, Lauren Dow, confirmed to Eyewitness News on Tuesday that at the time her husband was still alive and breathing, but was in hospice care at their home.
She confirmed it was a miscommunication and regrets causing a stir during a difficult time.
The actor – who rose to fame aged 12 when he was cast in the sitcom ‘Leave It to Beaver’ – revealed in May that he had been diagnosed with cancer.
Dow, who said he suffered from undiagnosed depression from his 20s to 40s, spoke for decades about his mental health struggles, long before it was common for celebrities to go public with such information.
In 1993, he was honorary speaker at a convention of the National Association of Depressives and Manic-Depressives.
“I realize there’s a perceived irony about it,” he told the Baltimore Sun of his depression in 1993. “You know, the fact that I was on a TV show which embodied the supposedly ideal world of the 1950s, and here I am suffering from depression. But I am only one among millions.”
Dow told CBS that once he accepted his diagnosis and began treatment, he found hope. He also channeled that hope into art, carving ornate pieces in his home studio.
“I think people should believe they can feel better,” he said.
Dow continued to work in Hollywood, appearing on television series and even reprising his role in “The New Leave It to Beaver” in the 1980s. He also directed episodes of series such as “Harry and the Hendersons”, “Coach and “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”.
Jerry Mathers, who starred alongside Dow as Beaver on their hit sitcom, told fans earlier this month that he had been in touch with Dow, who officials said he had been “in and out of the hospital with various complications and treatments”.
CNN contributed to this report.
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