Richard Dawson, Family Feud Host, Dies at 79

Celebrity News Jun. 3, 2012 AT 12:00PM
Richard Dawson Richard Dawson Credit: ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images

Richard Dawson died Sunday after battling esophageal cancer. He was 79.

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The legendary Family Feud host's son, Gary Dawson, confirmed the news on 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," he wrote Sunday. "He was surrounded by his family."

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Dawson hosted Family Feud since it was created in 1976 until 1985. He returned for one additional year of hosting in 1994. He also made appearances on Match Game, The Dick Van Dyke Show and Hogan's Heroes. 

The British TV personality is survived by his wife Gretchen Johsnon, whom he met when she was a contestant on Family Feud and married in 1991. The couple had one daughter together, Shannon Nicole Dawson. Dawson also has two sons, Mark and Gary Dawson, from his previous marriage to Diana Dors.

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"He was an amazing talent, a loving husband, a great dad, and a doting grandfather," Gary wrote. "He will be missed but always remembered..."

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