Jim Nabors, a singer and actor best known for his role as Gomer Pyle on "The Andy Griffith Show," has died, according to family friend and CNN affiliate KHNL-KGMB producer Phil Arnone.
He was 87.
Nabors died in Honolulu early Thursday "after battling health issues for some time," Arnone told KHNL-KGMB. Nabors' husband, Stan Cadwallader, was by his side, the station reports.
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Jim Nabors was born June 12, 1930, in Sylacauga, Alabama, but he moved to southern California because of his asthma. He was discovered by Andy Griffith while working at the Santa Monica nightclub, The Horn, and he later joined The Andy Griffith Show as Gomer Pyle. The character proved popular, and Nabors was given his own spin-off show Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.
Nabors was known for his portrayal of Gomer Pyle, although he became a popular guest on variety shows, which showcased his rich baritone voice in the 1960s and 1970s, including two specials of his own in 1969 and 1974. He subsequently recorded numerous albums and singles.
Nabors was also known for singing "Back Home Again in Indiana" prior to the start of the Indianapolis 500, held annually over the Memorial Day Weekend. He sang the unofficial Indiana anthem almost every year from 1972 until his final time in 2014.
Nabors began vacationing in Hawaii in the 1960s, and in 1976, moved from Bel Air, California, to Honolulu, Hawaii. For 25 years, he owned a macadamia plantation on Maui before selling it to the National Tropical Botanical Garden, a conservationist organization, though he still retained farming rights to the land and owned a second home on the property.
Nabors married his partner of 38 years, Stan Cadwallader, at Seattle, Washington's Fairmont Olympic Hotel on January 15, 2013, a month after same-sex marriage became legal in Washington. Although he had been closeted before this, his sexual orientation was not completely secret; for instance, Nabors brought his then-boyfriend Cadwallader along to his Indy 500 performance in 1978.