Revealed: The Cause of Louis Gossett Jr.'s Death

Tracing the illustrious journey of an iconic actor.

by Nouman Rasool
Revealed: The Cause of Louis Gossett Jr.'s Death
© Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Oscar-winning actor Louis Gossett Jr. died in Santa Monica on March 29 at 87. His death certificate, obtained by TMZ, gives the central cause of his death as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), listing heart failure and atrial fibrillation as contributory.

His family has released a touching statement following the demise of Louis Gossett Jr. "It is with profound sorrow that we announce the passing of our beloved father this morning. We appreciate the outpouring of sympathy during this challenging time and ask for privacy as we grieve."

Rising Star Origins

Louis Gossett Jr.

was born May 27, 1936, in Brooklyn, the birthplace of many a stage career. At 17, he first came to public attention by appearing in a high school production of "You Can't Take It with You," which set the stage for his Broadway debut in "Take a Giant Step." His early stage success continued with a notable performance in "A Raisin in the Sun," both on Broadway and in its 1961 film adaptation, where he portrayed George Murchison.

Shifting to television in the late 1960s, Gossett could be seen in popular shows like "The Invaders" and "Daktari" and later in "Bonanza," "Longstreet," "The Mod Squad," and "Good Times." But his most iconic TV role came in 1977 when he appeared as Fiddler in the critically acclaimed series "Roots," winning him an Emmy and raising his profile considerably in the industry.

His film career was just as extensive. He appeared in "The Landlord," "Skin Game," "The Deep," "The Choirboys," and "Jaws 3-D." But his character of Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley in "An Officer and a Gentleman" would be rewarded with an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and a Golden Globe, making him a truly versatile and renowned actor.

Through several decades and stellar performances, Louis Gossett Jr. overcame boundaries and captured the hearts of audiences worldwide. The legacy of one of America's great pioneers in cinema and television will forever be imprinted by his actions and the strong effect he left in his work.