Eric Lawson, former ‘Marlboro Man,’ who appeared in ads for Marlboro cigarettes in the late 70s died Jan. 10, 2014 due to respiratory failure at the age of 72.

Lawson, a former actor, also made his career appearing on many television shows in the 70s and 80s, such as Charlie’s Angels, CHiPs and Dynasty. Lawson reportedly slowed his acting career when he was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which eventually led to his death. Like two of his ‘Marlboro Man’ colleagues, his smoking no doubt caused the disease. Former ‘Marlboro Men’ David McLean and Wayne McLaren both died of lung cancer in the early 90s.

Lawson appeared in print advertisements as ‘The Marlboro Man’ for three years, from 1978 to 1981, but began smoking much earlier at the age of 14. For years, Lawson struggled to quit smoking and he reportedly was finally able to abandon cigarettes when he was diagnosed with COPD.

“He knew the cigarettes had a hold on him,” said Lawson’s wife Susan.

Olivia Truffaut-Wong

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