Actor James Avery Dies At 68

News & Views | Camille Travis | 01/01/2014 | 01:30 PM EST

The 'Fresh Prince' star passed away Monday night

James Avery, best known for his role as Uncle Phil on the popular '90s sitcom "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," has died. He was 68.

TMZ reports the actor passed away Monday night (Dec. 31) at a hospital in Los Angeles. He had recently undergone surgery for an unspecified illness and his wife was at his bedside for most of his stay.

Alfonso Ribeiro, who played Avery's son on the series, tweeted, "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 also reflected on the actor's life. "James was my teacher my protector & the most magnificent actor. We're feeling his loss very deeply. He'll always be apart [sic] of me."

In addition to being one of greatest TV dads of all time, Avery locked down more than 150 roles over the span of his career which included "Hill Street Blues," "Cagney & Lacey," "Amen," "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," "Soul Food," "My Wife & Kids," "The Closer" and many more.

The news of Avery's death comes just a week after the passing of "Fresh Prince" producer Jeffrey Pollack.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Avery's family during this difficult time.

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