Love Story Actor Ryan O’Neal Dead at 82

America’s love story with Ryan O’Neal will live on.

The legendary actor died Dec. 8, his son Patrick O’Neal shared on Instagram. He was 82.

“This is the toughest thing I’ve ever had to say,” Patrick wrote. “My dad passed away peacefully today, with his loving team by his side supporting him and loving him as he would us.” 

He did not share a cause of death for the Oscar nominee, who was diagnosed with leukemia in 2001 and prostate cancer in 2012.

Born in 1941, Ryan rose to fame playing Rodney Harrington on ABC’s Peyton Place from 1964 to 1969. He then made a splash on the big screen as preppy Harvard law student Oliver opposite Ali McGraw in 1970’s Love Story, following it up with starring roles in Paper MoonBarry Lyndon and What’s Up, Doc?.

In more recent years, he appeared on Fox’s Bones as the dad of Emily Deschanel‘s titular forensic anthropologist, making his final film appearance in 2015’s Knight of Cups and narrating the documentary Unity that same year. 

But for Patrick, Ryan was his all-time “hero.”

“I looked up to him and he was always bigger than life,” the sportscaster shared in a lengthy tribute. “When I was born in 1967 my dad was already a TV star on Peyton Place. That’s where he met my mom Leigh Taylor-Young, and about 9 months later (give or take a date night or two) I was born.” 

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