The man who portrayed the Marlboro Man in the late 1970s died earlier this month from a smoking-related disease at the age of 72, the Associated Press reports.

Retired actor Eric Lawson died from complications of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease on Jan. 10. He had been smoking cigarettes since the age of 14 and didn't stop until he was diagnosed with COPD, despite appearing on an anti-smoking commercial. 

"He knew the cigarettes had a hold on him," his wife told the AP. "He knew, yet he still couldn't stop."

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