Andy Griffith, the iconic star of Matlock and The Andy Griffith Show, died earlier this morning at the age of 86, according to WITN. He passed away in his Dare County, North Carolina home at 7 a.m. but no other details have been released at this time. The news was confirmed by former University of North Carolina President Bill Friday, who was a friend of Griffith's. 

Griffith is perhaps best known for his starring role as Sheriff Andy Taylor in The Andy Griffith Show. Along with co-stars Don Knotts and a young Ron Howard, the show went on to become one of the most beloved and long-running television programs in history. Griffith later moved on to play a criminal defense attorney in the popular drama Matlock.

But Griffith's biggest honor came in 2005 when he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by George W. Bush

He is survived by wife Cindi and his daughter Dixie.  

[via WITN , The Huffington Post