Last Updated Sep 6, 2018 8:26 PM EDT
Hollywood legend Burt Reynolds, star of films like "Smokey and the Bandit," "Boogie Nights" and "Deliverance," has died at 82. He reportedly died Thursday morning at Jupiter Medical Center in Florida.
The actor, director and producer was born in Lansing, Michigan, in 1936, and played football at Florida State University before an injury dashed his hopes of a football career.
He launched his acting career in Western TV shows like "Gunsmoke" and "Dan August," but his breakout film role was in the thriller "Deliverance" in 1972. He was Hollywood's top-grossing star each year from 1978 through 1982, during which time he starred in the 1997 hit film "Smokey and the Bandit" with Sally Field. The two had a highly-publicized romance. Reynolds was one of the leading sex symbols of the era, posing nude for Cosmopolitan magazine in 1972.
Reynolds made a comeback in 1997 with Paul Thomas Anderson's "Boogie Nights," for which he was nominated an Oscar. Reynolds had mixed feelings about the film in spite of the acclaim. In 2015, he admitted to GQ that he did not get along with Anderson and said he most likely would not work with him again. According to The Hollywood Reporter, he was so unhappy when he first saw the film that he fired his agent over it. Though the actor lost the Oscar that year to Robin Williams, he did win a Golden Globe for the role.
Reynolds recently starred in "The Last Movie Star," which was released in March. The film tells the story of a forgotten Hollywood icon.
Reynolds suffered from several health issues in recent years. In 2013, he was admitted to the intensive care unit of a Florida hospital due to dehydration and severe flu symptoms. In 2010, Reynolds underwent a quintuple heart bypass one year after entering rehab to end a reliance on prescription drug habit acquired after back surgery.
Reynolds was married to actresses Judy Carne from 1963 to 1965 and Loni Anderson from 1988 to 1993. He had a son, Quinton Reynolds, with Anderson in 1988. In March, he said, who was also his co-star in "Smokey and the Bandit," was the love of his life.
Field told the AP, "There are times in your life that are so indelible, they never fade away. They stay alive, even forty years later. My years with Burt never leave my mind. He will be in my history and my heart, for as long as I live. Rest, Buddy."
His niece, Nancy Lee Hess, issued a statement Thursday saying, "My uncle was not just a movie icon; he was a generous, passionate and sensitive man, who was dedicated to his family, friends, fans and acting students."
She said that although Reynolds had health issues, his death was "totally unexpected." "He was tough. Anyone who breaks their tail bone on a river and finishes the movie is tough. And that's who he was," she said.
"So many people have already contacted me, to tell me how they benefitted professionally and personally from my uncles kindness. I want to thank all of his amazing fans who have always supported and cheered him on, through all of the hills and valleys of his life and career," the statement continues. "My family and I appreciate the outpouring of love for my uncle, and I ask that everyone please respect our family's privacy at this very difficult time."