Another actor who portrayed the rugged Marlboro Man in cigarette adverts has died a smoking-related death.
Eric Lawson who played the iconic cigarette-puffing cowboy during the late 1970s passed away aged 72 from respiratory failure earlier this month.
Lawson is at least the third actor who pitched Marlboro-branded cigarettes to have died of some form of lung disease. Others include David Millar, who died of emphysema in 1987, and David McLean, who died of lung cancer in 1995.
Lawson succumbed to the illness at home in San Luis Obispo, California, on January 10, according to his wife, Susan Lawson. Lawson, who had smoked since the age of 14, played the smoking cowboy in the Marlboro adverts from 1978 to 1981.
The iconic figure, used from 1954 to 1999, was portrayed in a natural setting with only a cigarette. It was initially conceived by Leo Burnett as a way to popularize filtered cigarettes, which at the time were considered a feminine commodity.
Other ex-Malboro men include Christian Haren, Darrell Winfield and Brad Johnson. During his career, Lawson also featured in hit US TV shows as Baretta and The Streets of San Francisco.
He also performed in Charlie's Angels, Dynasty and Baywatch, before injuries sustained on the set of a Western film ended his career in 1997, according to Mrs Lawson.
He later appeared in an anti-smoking commercial that parodied the Marlboro man, and an Entertainment Tonight segment that discussed the negative effects of smoking.Mrs Lawson said her husband was proud of the interview, even though he smoked at the time and continued the habit until he was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which caused the fatal respiratory failure.
COPD is the name for a collection of lung diseases including chronic bronchitis, emphysema and chronic obstructive airways disease - all of which cause difficulty breathing.
People who smoke a lot, or have smoked for a long time, are more likely to develop the condition.
'He knew the cigarettes had a hold on him,' Mrs Lawson said. 'He knew, yet he still couldn't stop.'
In addition to his wife, Lawson is survived by six children, 18 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
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