Louis Gossett Jr.'s Cause of Death Revealed After Actor Died at 87

The Oscar-winning ‘An Officer and a Gentleman’ actor died March 29

<p>Taylor Hill/Getty</p> Louis Gossett Jr. in 2015

Taylor Hill/Getty

Louis Gossett Jr. in 2015

Louis Gossett Jr.’s cause of death has been revealed.

The Oscar-winning An Officer and a Gentleman star died at age 87 in Santa Monica, Calif., on March 29, due to the lung condition chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, according to a death certificate.

The document also notes that heart failure and atrial fibrillation were other significant contributing conditions in his death.

Gossett's death was announced by his family in a statement on March 29: "It is with our heartfelt regret to confirm our beloved father passed away this morning."

"We would like to thank everyone for their condolences at this time,” they continued. “Please respect the family's privacy during this difficult time."

Related: A Look at Louis Gossett Jr.'s Incredible Life in Photos

<p>David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty</p> Louis Gossett Jr. on Nov. 6, 2016

David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty

Louis Gossett Jr. on Nov. 6, 2016

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Born in New York City, Gossett launched his prolific stage career in Broadway's Take a Giant Step in 1953, when he was still a student at Abraham Lincoln High School. After attending New York University, he made his film debut in 1961's A Raisin in the Sun after starring in the Lorraine Hansberry play on Broadway.

After an Emmy-winning performance on Roots, Gossett became first Black performer to win the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his work as drill instructor Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley in 1982's An Officer and a Gentleman opposite Richard Gere.

Gere, 74, recently remembered his costar as “a sweetheart” who “took his job very seriously” and “stayed in character the whole time… I don't think we ever saw him socially. He was the drill sergeant 24 hours a day, and it showed clearly in his performance. He drove every scene he was in.”

<p>Bob Riha Jr/WireImage</p> Louis Gossett Jr in 1985

Bob Riha Jr/WireImage

Louis Gossett Jr in 1985

Related: Louis Gossett Jr. Almost Played for the Knicks Years Before His History-Making Oscar Win

Although he worked on screen for decades, including in recent projects Watchmen (earning another Emmy nod in 2019) and December’s The Color Purple movie musical, Gossett also performed as a folk musician and once turned down a potential professional basketball stint.

The Color Purple’s Colman Domingo honored his costar in an essay for Variety earlier this month. “The first day that I met Mr. Gossett, I said ‘Thank you,’” wrote Domingo, 54.  “Those were the words I wanted to say. Because I knew that there would be no me if there was no him. And other giants like him.”

Gossett, who had been married and divorced three times, is survived by his two adult sons, Satie and Sharron.

TMZ was first to report news of Gossett's cause of death.

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