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Ernest Borgnine's family 'shocked' by actor's 'sudden passing'

July 9, 2012 |  5:38 am

The family of actor Ernest Borgnine said they were in "great shock and sorrow" over the 95-year-old Oscar winner's death, which they described as "sudden"
The family of actor Ernest Borgnine said they were shocked by the "sudden passing" of the 95-year-old Oscar winner, who had reportedly been in good health until a recent checkup.

Borgnine died of apparent kidney failure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center about 1:30 p.m. Sunday, surrounded by his wife, Tova, and other family members, according to Harry Flynn, his longtime publicist.

A statement from Borgnine's family said he "had been in excellent health until a recent illness" and that they were in "great shock and sorrow" over his death.

PHOTOS: Ernest Borgnine | 1917-2012

Flynn said Borgnine went in for a routine checkup Tuesday -- his "95,000-mile checkup," Borgnine joked -- that "turned out to be a little more serious than we thought."

The son of poor Italian immigrants, Borgnine appeared in more than 200 movies. He had a knack for tough-guy roles, such as Fatso Judson, the brutal sergeant in 1953's Oscar-winning "From Here to Eternity." But his career was also a varied one. In "Marty," he was a lovelorn butcher. On the cartoon show "SpongeBob SquarePants," he gave voice to the character Mermaid Man.

Borgnine continued performing well into his 90s, earning a Golden Globe nomination in 2007 for his performance in the television movie "A Grandpa for Christmas," and an Emmy nomination in 2009 for his turn in the final episode of the long-running TV drama "ER."

PHOTOS: Notable deaths of 2012

His final role came earlier this year in "The Man Who Shook the Hand of Vicente Fernandez," which debuted at the Newport Beach Film Festival.

Before his acting career, Borgnine spent 10 years in the Navy, his family said, and the star of TV's "McHale's Navy" spent much of his time in Hollywood championing veteran-focused causes and charities. He received several awards honoring his work, including the Navy Memorial's Lone Sailor Award and the California Commendation Medal.

Besides his wife, he is survived by his children Nancee, Cristofer and Sharon Borgnine and David Johnson; six grandchildren; and a sister, Evelyn Velardi.

Where to find Borgnine's star on the Walk of Fame

"Mr. Borgnine's family is deeply appreciative of the love and support of his many friends, associates and fans around the world," the family’s statement said.

Services will be private.


Ernest Borgnine dead at 95

Ernest Borgnine died of kidney failure, his publicist says

Ernest Borgnine never retired from craft he loved, his family says

-- Kate Mather

Photo: Ernest Borgnine at the Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles in 2011. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times