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Gilbert pays tribute to Olsen

The former American football star-turned-actor lost his battle with cancer following three courses of chemotherapy. He was 69.

Olsen was inducted into the football Hall of Fame in 1982 after playing for the Los Angeles Rams, but made his mark in Hollywood by playing Jonathan Garvey in Little House on the Prairie between 1977 and 1981.

But despite his intimidating presence on the football field, former child star Gilbert remembers Olsen as a sweetheart.

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In a post on her Twitter.com page, Gilbert writes, “Just heard about the passing of Merlin Olsen. I am so sad. My heart go (sic) out to his dear family. He was one of the sweetest, kindest men I have ever known. The personification of the Gentle Giant. Forever now, a guardian angel.”

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