Andy Griffith’s death at age 86 on Tuesday morning belies the fact that the actor triumphed over severe heart problems, returning to work and living a full life for many years after suffering a heart attack and undergoing a quadruple bypass. Renowned cardiologist Chauncey Crandall, M.D., says the star was an inspiration to those battling a bad heart.
“People are living longer despite having heart disease, and Andy Griffith was proof of that,” says Dr. Crandall, chief of the cardiac transplant program at the world-renowned Palm Beach Cardiovascular Clinic in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
As a youngster, Dr. Crandall saw the actor perform in the play “The Lost Colony” in Roanoke, N.C. The actor still made his home there, and it is there where emergency crews were summoned this morning, when he had died peacefully at about 7 a.m. Tuesday morning.
In 2000, Griffith suffered a heart attack and underwent quadruple bypass surgery, but recovered to spend many more happy years with his wife, Cindi, enjoying the simple North Carolina life he loved so much. Even before his heart attack, Griffith suffered from other health problems. In the 1980s he was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a nerve disorder which caused him to be temporarily paralyzed.
According to Dr. Crandall, Griffith’s death should not be allowed to overshadow the rich life he was able to lead despite his heart problems.
“Even though Andy Griffith had serious heart disease, he enjoyed a good life far beyond the normal lifespan,” added Dr. Crandall.
“Andy Griffith’s life proves that the first insult to the heart doesn’t have to be something that will kill you. If we intervene, you can live a healthy life to a ripe old age,” Dr. Crandall said.
“When I saw Andy Griffith perform in ‘The Lost Colony’ there was no treatment for heart disease. As he lived his life, medicine advanced, and in 2000 when he had a heart attack, science was able to save him,” Dr. Crandall added.