Richard Dawson, the longtime Family Feud host and Hogan's Heroes actor, died Saturday of complications of esophageal cancer. He was 79 years old.

The British entertainer's death was announced Sunday via Facebook by his son, Gary Dawson. 

Richard

Richard Dawson, the longtime “Family Feud” host and Hogan's Heroes actor died Saturday of complications of esophageal cancer. He was 79 years old. Photo credit: Gary Dawson's Facebook

It is with a very heavy heart that I inform you that my father passed away this evening from complications due to esophageal cancer, Gary Dawson's post read. He was surrounded by his family. He was an amazing talent, a loving husband, a great dad, and a doting grandfather. He will be missed but always remembered.

Dawson was born in England in 1932 and served in the Merchant Marines for three years. He became a household name when he hosted Family Feud, a popular game show that initially ran from 1976 to 1985. He is known to charm the tens of thousands of female contestants whom he would kiss when he was host. TV fans from the 1960s also recognized Dawson as the Cockney POW Cpl. Peter Newkirk on Hogan's Heroes.

Dawson won a daytime Emmy in 1978 for being the best game show host, according to the Associated Press. He married Gretchen Johnson, who was a young contestant on the show, in 1991. He is survived by his widow, Gretchen, their daughter Shannon, two sons, Mark and Gary from his previous marriage with actress Diana Dors, and four grandchildren.