Eric Lawson, who played the part of the rugged Marlboro Man in ads for the cigarette brand in the late 70s has died at the age of 72.
Lawson’s wife, Susan Lawson, stated Sunday that her husband died on January 10 at his home in California. The cause of death was respiratory failure due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD.
Eric Lawson, a smoker since age 14, went on to film an anti-smoking spot that parodied the Marlboro Man persona. He also did an interview with Entertainment Tonight focused on the negative effects of smoking. During that interview he was still smoking and continued the habit until he was diagnosed with COPD.
Susan Lawson said, “He knew the cigarettes had a hold on him. He knew, yet he still couldn’t stop.”
Eric Lawson is also survived by 6 children, 18 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.