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Richard Dawson, the original host of Family Feud and star of Hogan's Heroes, passed away yesterday evening at the age of 79.

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Richard's son, Gary Dawson, announced his father's death via Facebook: It is with a very heavy heart that I inform you that my father passed away [Saturday] evening from complications due to esophageal cancer. He was surrounded by his family. He was an amazing talent, a loving husband, a great dad and a doting grandfather. He will be missed but always remembered."

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Richard was best known for his Family Feud hosting duties, and for kissing thousands of happily obliging female contestants. 

"I kissed them for luck and love, that's all," he said at the time.

Richard performed his hosting duties for nine years during the 1970s and 1980s, and won a Daytime Emmy Award for his work in 1978. He also had a short stint on the show in the 1990s. During his final show, the audience gave him a standing ovation.

"Please sit down. I have to do at least 30 minutes of fun and laughter and you make me want to cry," he said at the time. "I've had the most incredible luck in my career. I never dreamed I would have a job in which so many people could touch me and I could touch them."

Our thoughts are with Richard's family at this time. RIP, Richard!

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