The face of Winston cigarette ads for two decades, Alan Landers, died at 68 after battling throat cancer.

Landers, who had been undergoing treatment, died Friday at his south Florida home, his niece, Robin Levine Carns, said, the Associated Press reported.

Landers, whose legal name was Allan Levine, started smoking as a child and said he cycled through up to four cartons of cigarettes a day while posing for billboards and magazine ads as the self-proclaimed Winston Man.

He later in life came to be an outspoken critic of the tobacco industry and traveled the world as a staunch anti-smoking advocate and eventually brought his fight into the court system, Carns said, the AP reported.

I have also become aware of the industry's deceitful attitude toward its customers, he said in a blog on the tobacco industry.

Florida attorney Norwood Woody Wilner sued four of the nation's top cigarette makers on Landers' behalf in December 1995. The case was scheduled to go to trial in April, the AP reported.

In 1987 he was diagnosed with lung cancer and later years underwent surgery to have sections in both lungs removed after tumors were found in each lung.

In 1996 he had an open heart surgery and a double bypass operation.

Looking back on my career, I am ashamed that I helped promote such a lethal and addictive product to the children and adults of this country. Had I understood then what I now understand - that cigarettes are an addictive poison that kills almost 50% of their users - I would never have participated in their mass marketing, he said in a blog.

In his blog he also called upon lawmakers of this country to protect children from what he called a dangerous substance and further wrote, Tobacco products should be regulated as the addictive drugs they are.