Comedian and actor George Lindsey, best known for his three-decade reign on television as The Andy Griffith Show's Goober Pyle, died Sunday at the age of 83.

Lindsey died in the morning after a brief illness, according to a statement from the Marshall Donnelly Combs Funeral Home in Nashville, Tenn.

Lindsey played the beanie-clad Goober on The Andy Griffith show from 1964 to 1968, carrying the character on to Mayberry RFD and Hee Haw until 1993.

Lindsey was born in Fairfield, Ala., on Dec. 17, 1928. Memories from his rural upbringing carried into Lindsey's career, with his trademark beanie alluding to the grease-soaked mechanics at his Aunt Ethel's gas station, a popular haunt for the actor as a child.

Lindsey initially auditioned for the role of Gomer Pyle, a role that would eventually launch Jim Nabors' career. He famously admitted to kicking in his television screen when seeing the first episode of The Andy Griffith Show with Nabors playing Gomer. He eventually landed the role of Goober, a character he'd play for the ensuing three decades.

Griffith released a statement, recalling a friendship that lasted well beyond television stints.

I am happy to say that as we found ourselves in our eighties, we were not afraid to say, 'I love you.' That was the last thing George and I had to say to each other. 'I love you,' Griffith said. George often told me his fondest memories of his life in show business were the years he spent working on 'The Andy Griffith Show' and 'Mayberry RFD.' They were for me, too.

George Lindsey was my friend. I had great respect for his talent and his human spirit.