But not so many know of his love as a father and grandfather.
"He was just always there for me and for the family," explained son Barry Malone.
Barry said that at first, he was surprised at the outpouring of public grief for his father.
"He's always just been a dad to me. And I've just been blown away when I realized kind of the impact he's had on other people's lives. Cause I've always thought, 'Well, they don't really know the man that I know.' But then, as I look around, I'm like, 'Maybe they really did know the man that I know,'" he said.
Malone's death came as a complete surprise because he always seemed the picture of health. One of the few signs of aging was his shock of white hair, but some guessed he was in his sixties or younger - not 77. He had recently undergone a series of tests at Rex Senior Health.
"He was in perfect health for his age. In fact, when I talked to his doctor on Monday he told me that, as his doctor, he was as shocked as anyone," said Malone's son Rod.
Rod says it may have been a blessing that his father died while still active because Malone would never have been happy sitting still.
Malone's funeral will take place at noon Thursday at the Martin Street Baptist Church in Raleigh.