Actor Jim Nabors, 87, dies at Hawaii home
Jim Nabors, who played Gomer Pyle on TV's "The Andy Griffith Show," has died at 87.
HONOLULU - Legendary singer and actor Jim Nabors being remembered around the world.
He died at his Diamond Head home early Thursday morning at the age of 87.
Nabors loved Hawaii and has lived here for close to 50 years. Those close to him say he lived and breathed Aloha until his final breath.
It's the role that would catapult Nabors into the spotlight: Lovable Gomer Pyle, a goofy auto mechanic with a high pitched voice on hit tv series the Andy Griffith Show.
The show's leading man first spotted Nabor's singing in a nightclub and asked him to audition for his show.
His role led to his own spinoff show and his world class singing chops shocked crowds.
The Alabama native's career remained bright: both on tv and the silver screen.
"He had a voice, he could sing opera, he could do country-western but he couldn't do the Kaimana Hila because he didn't know the words," Danny Kaleikini, Hawaiian entertainer said.
Kaleikini was among many, who befriended Nabors after he moved to Hawaii.
The actor's circle of friends included many kama'aina. Cha Thompson of Tihati Productions admired Nabor's humility.
"His personality of not thinking, he's somebody is what made endeared him to everyone here and he was definitely somebody," Cha Thompson, Tihati Production said.
Nabors was a fixture, belting out the song "Back home again in Indiana" to before the Indianapolis 500.
Loved ones reminisced about Nabor's lively parties at his Diamond Head estate, where you'd often find his longtime friend Carol Burnett.
"Man nobody outdid Jim. You could sit down and talk for hours and he talk to you about the ocean and the coconut trees and anything around," Thompson said.
He was also praised for his charitable contributions to the Hawaiian Humane Society. Friends say he always embodied Aloha.
"Best part is you could say hello to him, I mean he was always nice like "hey, how you!"," Kaleikini said.
Health ailments impacted the superstar for the past several years. In 2012, he underwent major heart surgery.
At the age of 82, he married his best friend...partner Stan Cadwallader...a former Honolulu firefighter.
He would live out his final years here in the islands.
Thousands of Island News followers weighed in on our Facebook page about Nabors.
Sandra Perdomo posted: "I grew up watching The Andy Griffith Show and Gomer Pyle and I enjoyed all of the episodes, and what a voice! May you Rest in Peace Mr. Nabors and thank you!"
And Charlene Werden wrote "RIP Jim Nabors. Now when I watch you on the Andy Griffith show and know another great icon is gone, it will be twice as sad."
We'd love to hear any thoughts or memories that may be on your mind tonight.
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Gov. David Ige released a statement today saying "I grew up watching Jim Nabors on TV and am saddened by the passing of this American entertainment icon. We were fortunate that he chose to make his home in Hawaii where he contributed to our community in many ways. Dawn and I extend our condolences to Stan."
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell issued a statement saying "Jim called Oahu home since 1976 and all of us are lucky that he did so. He leaves behind a legacy of goodwill and joy that will not be forgotten."