Larry Hagman, who shot to worldwide fame for his portrayal of the oilman villain J.R. Ewing in the US television series “Dallas,” has died at the age of 81 after losing a battle with cancer, his family said Saturday. “When he passed, he was surrounded by loved ones,” the family said in a statement. “It was a peaceful passing, just as he had wished for.”Hagman died late Friday afternoon at Medical City Dallas Hospital from complications from throat cancer, according to the statement. No other details were given.Hagman first became a TV star in 1965 in the comedy series “I Dream of Jeannie,” in which he played an amiable astronaut whose life is plagued by a beautiful blonde genie portrayed by Barbara Eden.But it was not until 1977, when the primetime soap opera “Dallas” came along, that his Hollywood career really took off. “Dallas” told the story of a mega-rich Texas family, in which Hagman played the role of corrupt and unscrupulous millionaire J.R. Ewing, the man everyone loved to hate.In 1992, Hagman was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver, which later developed into a cancerous tumour. Three years later, he underwent a liver transplant that saved his life. Once known for his partying ways, Hagman gave up drinking and smoking following his liver diagnosis and in later years became an avid anti-smoking campaigner.