Blake Lively’s Dad Ernie Dead at 74

Ernie Lively, the father to Blake Lively and best known for his roles in Passenger 57, The Dukes of Hazzard, Turner & Hooch, has died of cardiac complications in Los Angeles. He was 74 years old. His family announced his passing, sharing that he was surrounded by his wife and all of his children.

The actor had a history of heart issues. He first underwent heart surgery in 2013 in a groundbreaking procedure called retrograde gene therapy that required doctors to inject his own stem cells into his heart to repair damaged muscle and arteries. “I woke up the other morning and told my wife, ‘I haven’t felt this good in years,'” Ernie told PEOPLE after the procedure. “I moved to Utah because of the snow, but I haven’t been able to ski. I literally didn’t have the heart to do it. Now, I’m excited about living the rest of my life instead of sitting around. Dr. Patel saved my life.”

While he’s more recently been mentioned in relation to his offspring, who’ve also made successful acting careers, the actor has a list of notable films in his resume. His credits include Shocker (1989), Air America (1990), Showdown in Little Tokyo (1991), The Man in the Moon (1991), The Beverly Hillbillies (1993), and Mulholland Falls (1996). He also played his daughter Blake’s character’s father in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants films. Some of his popular guest TV spots include The X-Files, Seinfeld, Murder, She Wrote, and The West Wing.

He was born Ernest Brown Jr. in Baltimore. Before he jumped into acting, he worked as an English professor and served as a lieutenant in Vietnam. He returned as a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps. He’s coached a number of actors in his career, including his own children. Aside from daughter Blake, his sons Jason Lively (National Lampoon’s European Vacation) and Eric Lively (So Weird, The L Word) Robyn Lively (Twin Peaks, Doogie Howser, M.D.) and Lori Lively (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, ER) gained notoriety in the same field by following in the family footsteps.

He is also survived by his wife of 41 years, Elain; children Bart, Lani and Ryan; nine grandchildren; and sister Judith.

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