Leave It to Beaver star Tony Dow died at the age of 77 on Wednesday, one day after he was falsely declared dead by his management team on Tuesday.
Dow died while he was under hospice care for an aggressive cancer that he was diagnosed with in May. His son, Christopher Dow, confirmed his father’s death on Facebook.
“Although this is a very sad day, I have comfort and peace that he is in a better place,” Christopher detailed. “He was the best Dad anyone could ask for. He was my coach, my mentor, my voice of reason, my best friend, my best man in my wedding, and my hero.”
“My wife said something powerful and shows the kind of man he was. She said: ‘Tony was such a kind man,” the statement continued. “He had such a huge heart and I’ve never heard Tony say a bad or negative thing about anyone.’”
Dow starred as Wally Cleaver in Leave It to Beaver for 234 episodes during the show’s six year run from 1957 to 1963. He reprised the role for 101 episodes of the series reboot, The New Leave It to Beaver from 1983 to 1989.
Outside of the Beaver universe, Dow starred as a race car driver in ABC soap opera Never Too Young, had guest roles on hit shows Knight Rider, Murder, She Wrote, Charles in Charge, and Diagnosis Murder amongst many others.
Dow shifted behind the camera in his later Hollywood years, directing multiple episodes of Harry and the Hendersons, Swamp Thing, Coach, Babylon 5, and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
Leave It to Beaver’s titular character, Jerry Mathers, 74, mourned the death of his on-screen sibling.
“It is with the utmost sadness I learned of my co-star and lifelong friend Tony Dow’s passing,” Mathers said to Fox News. “He was not only my brother on TV but in many ways in life as well. Tony leaves an empty place in my heart that won’t be filled.”
“He was always the kindest, most generous, gentle, loving, sincere and humble man, that it was my honor and privilege to be able to share memories together with for 65 years,” he concluded. “Tony was so grateful for all of the love and support from our fans across the world.”