By Will Ashton
James Avery, best known as Uncle Phil on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, died on New Year’s Eve. He was 65.
The news was reported on Twitter by actor Alfonso Ribeiro, who played his son Charlton on Fresh Prince, who said “I’m deeply saddened to say that James Avery has passed away. He was a second father to me. I will miss him greatly.”
On Facebook, Ribeiro went on to say:
“The world has lost a truly special man. I am very saddened to say that James Avery has passed. Even though he played my father on TV, he was a wonderful father figure to me in life. He will be deeply missed.”
TMZ went on to report that Avery recently checked into a Los Angeles hospital surgery to treat an undisclosed illness, but his condition got worse.
In addition to Fresh Prince, Avery was also known as the voice of Shredder on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from the late ’80s-early ’90s, and was also recently seen on TV shows like The Closer, Grey’s Anatomy, Harry’s Law and Sherri, as well as in films like The Prince of Egypt and Dr. Dolittle 2.