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Adam West, "Batman" and "Family Guy" actor, dead at 88

Adam West dead
Adam West, TV's "Batman," dies at 88 00:36

Adam West, the actor best known for his role in the 1960s "Batman" series, has died, CBS News has learned. He was 88.

West's publicist, Molly Schoneveld, said he died in Los Angeles surrounded by family, adding that his death came after a "short but brave" battle with leukemia.

"Our dad always saw himself as The Bright Knight, and aspired to make a positive impact on his fans' lives. He was and always will be our hero," his family said in a statement to CBS News.

The West family also issued a statement on Facebook: "There are no words to describe how much we'll miss him. We know you'll miss him too."

It's with great sadness that we are sharing this news...Adam West passed away peacefully last night after a short but...

Posted by Adam West on Saturday, June 10, 2017

West's campy version of Batman became a hit for ABC in 1966, but his success in the series made it difficult for him to find other starring roles during his six-decade career.

"You can't play Batman in a serious, square-jawed, straight-ahead way without giving the audience the sense that there's something behind that mask waiting to get out, that he's a little crazed, he's strange," West told the Archive of American Television in 2006.

Burt Ward, who played Batman's sidekick, Robin, said he was friends with West for more than 50 years.

"We shared some of the most fun times of our lives together. Our families have deep love and respect for each other," Ward told Variety. "This is a terribly unexpected loss of my lifelong friend. I will forever miss him."

Adam West, left, and Burt Ward dress as Batman and Robin during an appearance at the "World of Wheels" custom car show in Chicago on Jan. 27, 1989. AP

West appeared in more than 50 films and television shows, most recently as the voice of Mayor Adam West of Quahog in Seth MacFarlane's "Family Guy" and as a guest star on CBS' "The Big Bang Theory."

MacFarlane issued a statement on Twitter Saturday saying "Family Guy" has lost its mayor, and that he had lost a friend.

"Adam West was a joy to work with, and the kind of guy you always wanted to be around. His positivity, good nature, and sense of fun were undeniable, and it was always a big jolt of the best kind of energy when he walked in to record the show," MacFarlane tweeted.

"He knew comedy, and he knew humanity. I am beyond fortunate to have had the privilege of working with him, and he will be profoundly missed by all of us. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you have given, Mr. Mayor. You're irreplaceable."

Celebrities mourned the actor's death with tributes on social media.

Filmmaker Edgar Wright called West "MY Batman" on Twitter. "Such a super funny, cool, charismatic actor. Loved the show as a kid, still love the show now," he tweeted.

Actress Jamie Lee Curtis tweeted: "Holy heartbreak Batman. Adam West was a big part of my childhood. We were acquaintances in my adulthood. A wonderful man who will b missed."

Producer Greg Berlanti tweeted:  "Mr. West, thank you for all those afternoons you helped me and other 70's kids dream about the fun of being a hero. RIP, good sir."

Author Neil Gaiman recalled meeting West in 1987. "Rest in Peace Adam West. We met once in 1987 and I was too embarrassed and too foolishly "cool" to tell you what you meant to my childhood."

He was born William West Anderson in Walla Walla, Washington. At 15, he moved with his mother to Seattle after his parents divorced. He served in the U.S. Army and eventually moved to Hollywood where he changed his name to Adam West.

West is survived by his wife, Marcelle, six children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

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