Blake Lively shared a heartbreaking tribute to her father, actor Ernie Lively, who died on Thursday. He was 74. Ernie was best known for his roles in The Dukes of Hazzard, Turner & Hooch, and Passenger 57. He also played Lively's on-screen father in the two Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants movies.
Ernie died from cardiac complications in Los Angeles, his family said Thursday. He was surrounded by his wife and his children. Like Lively, Ernie's sons Jason Lively and Eric Lively, and daughters Robyn Lively and Lori Lively have all followed their father into acting. Lively paid tribute to her father by simply sharing an old photo of her leaning on his shoulder, with a heart above the picture. Lively's husband, actor Ryan Reynolds, posted the same picture on his Instagram Story. Ernie is also survived by his wife Elain, nine grandchildren, and sister Judith.
Amber Tamblyn, who also starred in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, shared a tribute to Ernie on her Instagram Story as well. "Rest in Peace, our dear wonderful Sisterhood set papa: Ernie Lively," Tamblyn wrote. "What a funny, kind, generous soul. You will be missed but never forgotten. We love you." She later tagged Lively, writing to her, "I love you, my sister."
The actor's death comes 17 years after he suffered a massive heart attack. After that, he only had half of a functioning heart and struggled to walk upstairs. In 2013, he underwent groundbreaking heart surgery. He was the first known patient to have retrograde gene therapy for the heart, which involved injecting the patient's own stem cells into the heart to repair the damage. "I woke up the other morning and told my wife, ‘I haven’t felt this good in years,'" Ernie said in a statement the University of Utah Health Care released to PEOPLE in 2013. “I moved to Utah because of the snow, but I haven’t been able to ski. I literally didn’t have the heart to do it. Now, I’m excited about living the rest of my life instead of sitting around. [Dr. Amit Patel] saved my life.”
Ernie was born Ernest Brown Jr. in Baltimore. He was an English professor and served in the Vietnam War, according to The Hollywood Reporter. After serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, he became an actor and was a well-respected acting coach. He had over 100 credits on his resume, stretching back to 1975. His credits include The Dukes of Hazzard, Remington Steele, Hill Street Blues, Turner & Hooch, Passenger 57, The Beverly Hillbillies (1993), Seinfeld, Ghost Whisperer, and The West Wing. He played Lively's father in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005) and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 (2008), based on the books by Ann Brashares.