The cause of death for Eric Lawson probably won't surprise you.

You knew his face, even if you weren't a smoker. The rugged Marlboro man was an iconic symbol back when cigarette brands could advertise in print and on billboards.

Eric Lawson, who was the Marlboro man in print ads and on billboards in the late seventies, has passed away at the age of 72.The cause of death was COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) said his wife, Susan Lawson.

He was also an actor, with parts in "Baretta", "Streets of San Francisco", "Charlie's Angels", "Dynasty" and "Baywatch."

Lawson, a smoker since the age of 14, later appeared in a segment on Entertainment Tonight to discuss the health risks of smoking even though he was still a smoker.

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

Other Marlboro men have died of smoking related disease. David Millar died of emphysema in 1987 and David McLean died of lung cancer in 1995.