Sanford & Son actor Graham Brown died in New jersey on Tuesday of pulmonary failure at the age of 87, The Associated Press confirmed with actress Barbara Montgomery.

Montgomery, who often acted on stage with Brown told The AP that he died of pulmonary failure at the Lillian Booth Actors' Fund Nursing Home in Englewood. She had power of attorney on his behalf, The AP report noted.

BroadwayWorld.com reported that Brown is a New York City-born actor and that he had been a resident of the nursing home since 2009. That report also noted that he was born Robert E. Brown and was a one-time boxer.

Brown has acted with companies such as the Guthrie Theatre, of which he was a founding member, The New York Shakespeare Festival, London's newly-reconstructed Globe Theatre and The Negro Ensemble Company, according to BroadwayWorld.com.

Brown had recurring television roles on Law & Order, Days of Our Lives and Sanford & Son. His screen credits included Malcolm X, Clockers and The Muppets Take Manhattan.

Brown has also done several voiceovers and commercials, according to BroadwayWorld.com, which also noted that Brown's best on-stage role was as Jared Philibert, a 50-year old patriarch of a Caribbean family. Brown received a Los Angeles Critics' Circle Award for Best Actor for that role.

Brown survived by his daughter, Sara Raphael, his grandson, Luca Raphael, and his sister, LillIan Brown, BroadwayWorld.com noted.

What is pulmonary failure?

Pulmonary failure is a condition that relates to the lungs.

According to the American Lung Association, the lung is a part of the respiratory system, which included the nose, throat and windpipe. The average adult takes 15 to 20 breaths a minute, which translates to more than 20,000 breaths a day.

The association noted that in the lungs, the oxygen from each breath is transferred to the bloodstream and sent to all the cells of the body so as to sustain life. 

Respiratory failure happens when the lungs are unable to perform that basic gas exchange, that is, transfer oxygen from inhaled air into the blood and take the carbon dioxide from the blood into exhaled air.

Respiratory failure can occur because of different medical conditions of which a history of asthma, emphysema, chronic lung disease and extreme obesity are said to be factors.

BroadwayWorld.com stated that a memorial celebration for Brown will take place on a date to be announced later.