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Who was Wilford Brimley and how did he die?

COCOON and The Thing actor Wilford Brimley has died aged of 85 in hospital.

His manager Lynda Bensky said the star died on Saturday morning and described him as having a "tender heart."

Wilford Brimley has died aged 85
Wilford Brimley has died aged 85Credit: Kobal Collection - Rex Features

Who was Wilford Brimley?

Born in Utah on September 27 1934, Brimley was an American actor and singer.

His father was a real estate broker and before embarking on his acting career, Brimley dropped out of school to serve in the marines.

He also worked as a bodyguard, a blacksmith, a cowboy and a wrangler before heading for the red carpet.

He had four sons with his first wife Lynne Bagly, who he married on July 6 1956 and stayed with until her death in 2000.

Their sons were James Charles, John Michael, William Carmen, and Lawrence Dean.

Seven years later in October 2007 he married Beverly Berry and together they founded ounded nonprofit organization Hands Across the Saddle (HATS) in the Big Horn Basin.

The American Diabetes Association honoured him in 2008 for his lifetime service to raising awareness after being diagnosed with the condition in 1979.

Actor Barbara Hershey, who starred with Brimley in several films, described him on Twitter as a wonderful man and actor who “always made me laugh”.

His manager said: “Wilford Brimley was a man you could trust.

“He said what he meant and he meant what he said.

"He had a tough exterior and a tender heart.

"I’m sad that I will no longer get to hear my friend’s wonderful stories. He was one of a kind.”

He passed away on Saturday morning in a Utah hospital
He passed away on Saturday morning in a Utah hospitalCredit: Kobal Collection - Rex Features

What films did he star in?

Wilford Brimley has 77 film and TV credits according to IMDb, working his way up from a movie stunt rider to a character actor.

Although he was never nominated for an Oscar or an Emmy, he certainly made a name for himself in the industry with his vast array of roles.

He took on successively larger roles in his 40s and 50s which brought him fame playing sometimes gruff but lovable moustachioed seniors.

In 1982 he won fame from his role in science-fiction horror film The Thing, playing a character called Blair.

But Brimley is best known for his roles in the Oscar-winning movie “Cocoon” and “The Firm".

In Ron Howard’s 1985 Sci-Fi feature “Cocoon”, Brimley played a man in his 70s who together with the other residents of a Florida retirement home, discovers an alien energy source that rejuvenates them.

Brimley also starred in “Cocoon: The Return,” a 1988 sequel.

In his memorable role alongside Tom Cruise in the 1993 legal thriller The Firm Brimley played a sinister security official for a legal company.

He has a vast array of film credits but is most famous for his roles in 'Cocoon' and 'The Thing'
He has a vast array of film credits but is most famous for his roles in 'Cocoon' and 'The Thing'Credit: Rex Features

How did he die?

Brimley had been ill with a kidney condition for two months, his manager said.

He was on dialysis and had several medical ailments and passed away in a Utah hospital.

The actor had had a kidney condition for two months
The actor had had a kidney condition for two monthsCredit: Rex Features