"Grizzly Adams" Star Dan Haggerty Loses Cancer Battle at 73

Kimberly RipleyLife

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Grizzly Adams star Dan Haggerty died on Friday at the age of 73. Longtime friend and manager Terry Bomar confirmed his death.

"He had cancer and had been fighting since July, and he had a great Thanksgiving and a great Christmas, and he died with his kids around him and people who love him," Bomar told Fox News.

According to a report from the L.A. Times, Dan Haggerty learned just this past summer that he had cancer of the spine.

Haggerty's parents hoped he would become a priest, but instead he was a "wild child." He went to work for a ranch in California that trained animals for the movies. He soon became an animal handler and a stuntman on the side.

These skills eventually led to Dan Haggerty becoming an actor. It was thanks to a colleague he met while filming a scene that had him chasing a tiger across a frozen lake, that Haggerty eventually landed the leading role in a made for TV movie called The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams.

That led to his role in the TV series, also called The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams.

Dan Haggerty was Grizzly Adams, and in later years he still relished the role. He occasionally shaved off his trademark bushy beard for charity.

Haggerty lived a rather colorful life. He was arrested for selling cocaine (the charges were thrown out after a while) and he survived two serious motorcycle crashes. His wife, Samantha Haggerty died in a 2008 motorcycle crash when her bike hit a deer.

The Grizzly Adams star is survived by his five children--Megan, Dylan, Cody, Tracey and Don.

Were you a fan of The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams? The show was a big part of many people's childhood's. They--now adults--are no doubt mourning Dan Haggerty's passing, right along with his family.

Kimberly Ripley
Kimberly Ripley is a freelance writer and published author from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. A wife, mom of five and 'Nana' to Lilly and Aiden, she loves cooking for her big family and watching HGTV in her spare time. Kim is guilty of starting way more home design projects than she can finish. Visit her at Twitter and Facebook.