Fifth Former Marlboro Man Dies From Smoking-Caused Illness

One of the actors who played the Marlboro Man died earlier this month from a smoking-related illness. Eric Lawson, who portrayed the iconic cowboy from 1978 to 1981, is the fifth former Marlboro Man to die from smoking.

Lawson died on January 10 at the age of 72. According to his wife, Susan, he suffered respiratory failure caused by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. He'd smoked since age 14.

"He knew the cigarettes had a hold on him," his wife said. "He knew, yet he still couldn't stop."

In addition to his role as the Marlboro Man, Lawso had small parts in TV shows like Baretta and Charlie's Angels before his film and TV career ended after an injury.

He's survived by his wife, six children, 18 grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren.

David Millar, who played the Marlboro Man in the 1950s, died of emphysema in 1987. In 1992, Wayne McLaren died at 51 after a battle with lung cancer. And both Davie McLean and Richard Hammer, who also played Marlboro Men in the 1970s, died from lung cancer in the mid 1990s.

[Image via AP]