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Magnum, P.I.'s John Hillerman died from heart disease

By Dailymail.com Reporter

Published: 20:19 EST, 6 December 2017 | Updated: 20:24 EST, 6 December 2017

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Veteran actor John Hillerman, who passed away last month at the age of 84, died from heart disease.

TMZ reported Wednesday that the Magnum, P.I. favorite suffered from hypertensive arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease.

That was further complicated by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and congestive heart failure, according to a spokesperson at the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences in Texas.

Natural causes: Veteran actor John Hillerman, who passed away last month at the age of 84, died from heart disease, TMZ reported Wednesday 
Natural causes: Veteran actor John Hillerman, who passed away last month at the age of 84, died from heart disease, TMZ reported Wednesday 

Natural causes: Veteran actor John Hillerman, who passed away last month at the age of 84, died from heart disease, TMZ reported Wednesday 

Hillerman died at his home in Houston, Texas, on November 9.

He was best known for playing the stuffed-shirt Higgins to Tom Selleck's freewheeling detective Thomas Magnum in the 1980s TV series. 

'He had an outstanding sense of humor and was one of the most well-read people I ever met. You couldn't play Scrabble with him,' Hillerman's nephew Chris Tritico said as he announced his uncle's passing. 

Beloved character: Hillerman, who died at his home in Houston, Texas, on November 9, was best known for playing the stuffed-shirt Higgins opposite Tom Selleck in the 1980s TV series
Beloved character: Hillerman, who died at his home in Houston, Texas, on November 9, was best known for playing the stuffed-shirt Higgins opposite Tom Selleck in the 1980s TV series

Beloved character: Hillerman, who died at his home in Houston, Texas, on November 9, was best known for playing the stuffed-shirt Higgins opposite Tom Selleck in the 1980s TV series

Long career: The Texas native also starred on the Ellery Queen TV series and the sitcom One Day At A Time
Long career: The Texas native also starred on the Ellery Queen TV series and the sitcom One Day At A Time

Long career: The Texas native also starred on the Ellery Queen TV series and the sitcom One Day At A Time

Besides playing manager of the Hawaiian estate that Magnum used as home base, Hillerman was known for his 1970s roles as arrogant radio show detective Simon Brimmer on the Ellery Queen series and the difficult boss on the sitcom One Day At A Time.

When Hillerman decided to retire about 17 years ago, the actor born in Denison, Texas, returned to his native state and was content leaving Hollywood behind, said his nephew.   

As for that quasi-British accent that Hillerman used on Magnum and elsewhere, his nephew said that was honed during several decades of playing varied roles on the New York stage before he turned to TV and movies. 

He appeared in a number of TV series, including Valerie, The Love Boat and The Betty White Show and in films including The Last Picture Show and High Plains Drifter.  

Hillerman was also known for his part on The Betty White Show; he and the actress are pictured together in 1985 at the Emmy Awards
Hillerman was also known for his part on The Betty White Show; he and the actress are pictured together in 1985 at the Emmy Awards

Hillerman was also known for his part on The Betty White Show; he and the actress are pictured together in 1985 at the Emmy Awards

His last credits included 1996's A Very Brady Sequel and an early '90s appearance on Murder, She Wrote.

The role of Higgins was his favorite, Tritico said, explaining that the character was 'the reason' his uncle 'didn't take another big role is he refused to take a sitcom after Magnum.'

'He wanted to continue doing the serious work that he felt Magnum was,' said Hillerman's nephew.

Hillerman's survivors include a sister, Jo Ann Tritico, and seven nieces and nephews including Chris Tritico, a Houston attorney.

Rest in Peace: Hillerman played the manager of the Hawaiian estate that Mthe free-wheeling detective Magnum used as home base
Rest in Peace: Hillerman played the manager of the Hawaiian estate that Mthe free-wheeling detective Magnum used as home base

Rest in Peace: Hillerman played the manager of the Hawaiian estate that Mthe free-wheeling detective Magnum used as home base

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