The actor, most notable for his role as Uncle Phil on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, has died at the age of 68.
According to Avery’s manager Toni Benson, Avery passed away from complications of open-heart surgery, CNN reports.
Avery had appeared in many other television shows since his time on the now classic Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, including CSI, That ’70s Show, The Closer, as well as appearances playing a judge on L.A. Law.
Avery most recently landed a role in Zach Braff’s new film Wish I Was Here, which is slated to premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
The character of Uncle Phil, played by Avery, is considered a classic to kids and teenagers who grew up watching The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in the ’90s. Alfonso Ribiero, who played Uncle Phil’s son Carlton, tweeted his condolences about the passing of his friend and colleague:
“I’m deeply saddened to say that James Avery has passed away. He was a second father to me. I will miss him greatly.”
We’re sure other members of the cast will release a statement regarding the passing of their friend, including Will Smith, who may have worked most closely with Avery during his time on Fresh Prince.
Our hearts go out to friends and family of James Avery.