Richard Dawson, the first man to ever host Family Feud, has died in Los Angeles at the age of 79, according to The L.A. Times. His son, Gary, broke the news of his father's death over Facebook earlier today.
"It is with a very heavy heart that I inform you that my father passed away [Saturday] evening from complications due to esophageal cancer. He was surrounded by his family. He was an amazing talent, a loving husband, a great dad and a doting grandfather. He will be missed but always remembered," wrote his son.
Dawson was born on November 20, 1932 in England, but it wasn't until he traveled to the States where he achieved his fame. His first big break came when he landed the role of Corporal Peter Newkirk in the Nazi P.O.W. camp sitcom, Hogan's Heroes. From there, he moved on to host The Family Feud for the show's first nine years. He also returned briefly in the '90s for another stint as the host.
Dawson is survived by his wife, Gretchen; their daughter Shannon; two sons, Mark and Gary, from his first marriage; and four grandchildren.
[via The L.A. Times, Facebook]