The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air fans and cast members are mourning the loss of James Avery, the actor who played Uncle Phil on the beloved sitcom.
James Avery died Tuesday night from complications following open-heart surgery, which he underwent in November, at a hospital in Glendale, Calif.
Avery has hundreds of credits to his name, including Fletch, Rambo, Dallas, Night Court, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and more recently, Grey’s Anatomy.
Of course, he will be best remembered as Will Smith’s uncle Phil on The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air for six seasons and 148 episodes in the 1990s.
His co-stars took to social media to express their sadness.
Alfonso Ribeiro, Avery’s son on show, wrote: “I’m deeply saddened to say that James Avery has passed away. He was a second father to me. I will miss him greatly.”
Tatyana Ali, who played the late actor’s daughter, added:
“James was my teacher my protector & the most magnificent actor. We’re feeling his loss very deeply. He’ll always be apart of me #JamesAvery.”
Daphne Reid, who played his on-screen wife Vivian, told BBC Radio 5 live: "He was such a good friend of mine... larger than life. An avid reader, avid questioner, avid thinker."
"He was just a brilliant man."
Will Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, wrote a message on Facebook Wednesday sending her condolences to the Avery family, writing:
“Happy New Year everyone! I was hoping to start the new year differently but we have lost yet another friend.”
“James Avery who we all lovingly know as Uncle Phil from The Fresh Prince has passed."
"Our condolences to aunt Florence (his mother), Miss Barbara (his wife) and all those who loved him. Rest in peace James.”
He will be missed.