Hollywood legend Andy Griffith has reportedly passed away at the age of 86 leaving a legacy in the enterainment industry dating back to the “Andy Griffith” television show and launch of acclaimed director Ron Howard‘s career.

Reports claim he passed away in North Carolina Tuesday (July 3) morning.

Former UNC President Bill Friday says Andy Griffith died this morning in Dare County. Friday, who is a close friend of the actor, confirmed that to WITN News. Friday tells us the 86-year-old actor died at his Roanoke Island home around 7:00 a.m. this morning. Griffith attended UNC Chapel Hill where he earned a degree in Music. His first job out of college was choral director at Goldsboro High School. (WITN)

Tuesday’s news caught the attention of hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons who paid homage to the late actor.

“RIP Andy Griffith… http://bit.ly/LuIP14,” he tweeted. (Russell Simmons’ Twitter)

Southern radio personality DJ Crisis also paid respect to Griffith.

“RIP AndyGriffith,” he tweeted. (DJ Crisis’ Twitter)

Platinum-selling rapper Drake’s “Best I Ever Had” 2009 hit single features a Griffith ode.

“They bring dinner to my room and ask me to initial/She call me the referee, cause I be so official/My shirt ain’t got no stripes, but I can make your p*ssy whistle/Like the Andy Griffith theme song/…And who told you to put them jeans on?” (“Best I Ever Had”)

The Hollywood mogul is most known for taking the television industry by storm.

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. (Complex)