The Marlboro man was 72 years old when he died from respiratory failure caused by smoking-related chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Lawson started smoking when he was 14 years old, and according to his wife, Susan, he didn’t stop smoking until he was diagnosed with COPD, reports USA Today.
The National Library of Medicine describes COPD as such.
“Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is one of the most common lung diseases. It makes it difficult to breathe. There are two main forms of COPD: Chronic bronchitis, which involves a long-term cough with mucus; Emphysema, which involves destruction of the lungs over time.”
Lawson appeared as the Marlboro man in printed ads from 1978 to 1981. He also appeared in several other tv shows, including Charlie’s Angels and Baywatch. Lawson also appeared in an anti-smoking commercial on Entertainment Tonight. He is survived by his wife and six children, reports USA Today.