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Ex-Marlboro Man Actor Dies From Lung Disease
A US actor who portrayed the rugged Marlboro man in cigarette adverts during the late 1970s and early 1980s has died from lung disease.
Eric Lawson, who appeared in print Marlboro adverts between 1978 and 1981, died of respiratory failure due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
The 72-year-old, who had been a smoker since the age of 14, was at his Californian home in San Luis Obispo, situated between Los Angeles and San Francisco, on Sunday, his wife Susan said.
He featured in episodes of hit US television drama serials Charlie's Angels, Dynasty and Baywatch, and had bit parts on TV shows including Baretta and The Streets of San Francisco.
Lawson later appeared in an anti-smoking commercial that parodied the Marlboro man, and discussed the negative effects of lighting-up on a segment of Entertainment Tonight.
His wife said he was proud of the interview even though he was smoking at the time and continued the habit until he was diagnosed with COPD.
"He knew the cigarettes had a hold on him," she said. "He knew, yet he still couldn't stop."
The actor's career ended in 1997 when he was injured while filming a Western.
The Malboro Man campaign was used to promote the tobacco giant's products for more than 40 years after it was originally conceived to popularise filtered cigarettes, which were considered feminine.
Lawson is not the only actor and model who pitched Marlboro brand cigarettes to have died of a smoking-related disease.
Others include David Millar, who died of emphysema in 1987, and David McLean, who died of lung cancer in 1995.
COPD is the name for a collection of lung diseases including chronic bronchitis, emphysema and chronic obstructive airways disease.
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