Byline: Jaxon Van Derbeken Daily News Staff Writer
Sam Griffith, the son of actor Andy Griffith, was found dead Wednesday in his North Hollywood home. He was 38.
His attorney said Griffith died after a long battle with alcoholism.
“He had suffered some severe medical problems in the past, (including) cirrhosis of the liver,” said his lawyer, James Blatt. “Quite honestly, I think his body just gave out on him, after all the years of abuse. The years caught up with him.”
Griffith, 38, a real estate developer, was found dead by his roommate at their Ellington Drive home about 4:20 a.m.
Blatt said Griffith had been out of work but was looking to find something new at the time of his death.
“He had been looking to go back to find something he enjoyed – he was getting along much better with his friends, because he was not drinking,” Blatt said.
Blatt said Andy Griffith “is taking it hard and is quite upset” at the news.
The death appeared to be of natural causes, but the official cause is pending an autopsy, said coroner’s spokesman Scott Carrier.
Griffith was sentenced to three years’ probation in 1992 after pleading no contest to reduced, misdemeanor assault charges in the January beating of his pregnant wife.
Van Nuys Superior Court Judge James M. Coleman gave Griffith credit for 60 days jail time already served.
Griffith had been charged with felonies including spousal abuse, assault with a deadly weapon and negligently firing a weapon.
Griffith had left a gathering early on Tuesday night because he was feeling ill, Blatt said.
“When his friend – who owns the house – returned, he found him sitting on a chair, slumped over on a desk,” Blatt said. “He first thought he was just sleeping and tried to wake him.”
The unidentified roommate then attempted to resuscitate Griffith and called 911 early Wednesday morning.
Blatt, who represented Sam Griffith in the case involving his wife, said that he had spoken to the family and Griffith’s roommate in the aftermath of the death.