Tony Dow, 'Leave It to Beaver' Star, Dead at 77 Following Premature Death Announcement

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Tony Dow has died. One day after Dow's reps prematurely said that the Leave It to Beaver star had died, Dow's son, Christopher, confirmed that his dad had officially died at age 77.

"We have received confirmation from Christopher, Tony’s son, that Tony passed away earlier this morning, with his loving family at his side to see him through this journey," a message posted to Dow's verified Facebook account on Wednesday read. "We know that the world is collectively saddened by the loss of this incredible man. He gave so much to us all and was loved by so many. One fan said it best -- 'It is rare when there is a person who is so universally loved like Tony.'"

"Our heart goes out to Tony’s wife, Lauren, who will miss her soulmate of 42 years…To his son, Christopher, who will dearly miss his father, who was also his best friend…to his daughter-in-law, Melissa, who loved him like her own father…To his granddaughter, Tyla, who will undoubtedly carry on her grandfather’s kind soul, To his brother Dion and sister-in-law, Judy, and to all of his extended family and friends," the post continued. "Words cannot express how much we will all feel his absence, but will cherish the memories he left to each and every one of us."

The post also included a statement from Dow's son, Christopher.

"Although this is a very sad day, I have comfort and peace that he is in a better place. He was the best dad anyone could ask for," Christopher said. "He was my coach, my mentor, my voice of reason, my best friend, my best man in my wedding, and my hero."

Christopher's wife, Melissa, likewise remembered her late father-in-law with a statement.

"Tony was such a kind man," she said. "He had such a huge heart and I’ve never heard Tony say a bad or negative thing about anyone."

The Facebook post concluded by stating, "We respectfully ask that everyone give the family privacy in their time of mourning."

The confirmation of Dow's death came after his reps, Frank Bilotta and Renee James, prematurely told ET that Dow died Tuesday morning. A since-deleted statement was also posted on the actor's verified Facebook account.

According to CBS Sunday Morning, following the premature announcement, Dow's wife, Lauren, stated that he was near death, but still alive and breathing. Dow had reportedly been battling a re-occurrence with cancer. He had been diagnosed with cancer back in May.

Leave It to Beaver starred Dow, Jerry Mathers (Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver), Hugh Beaumont (Ward Cleaver) and Barbara Billingsley (June Cleaver). The sitcom aired for six seasons from 1957 to 1963, first on CBS and then on ABC. Dow would later reprise his role on The New Leave It to Beaver from 1983 to 1989.

Some of Dow's other TV credits included My Three SonsThe Greatest Show on EarthNever Too YoungDr. Kildare and Mr. Novak. His work as Wally on Leave It to Beaver would lead to the Former Child Star Lifetime Achievement Award by the Young Artist Foundation in 1987.


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