George Lindsey, who played the legendary Goober Pyle on The Andy Griffith Show, died at the age of 83 on Sunday in Nashville, Tennessee after a brief illness. Lindsey later portrayed the same character on Mayberry R.F.D. and also starred on Hee-Haw.

"George Lindsey was my friend," said Andy Griffith, 85, in a statement released to through the funeral home, reports Huliq.com. "I had great respect for his talent and his human spirit. In recent years, we spoke often by telephone. Our last conversation was a few days ago … 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.'"

The Andy Griffith Show ran for eight years between 1960 and 1968.