Alfonso Ribeiro and Tatyana Ali have paid public tribute to their on-screen father, James ‘Uncle Phil’ Avery.
But the star of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Will Smith, is yet to vocalise his condolences, leaving it up to wife Jada Pinkett-Smith to make a public statement about the actor’s death following open heart surgery.
Taking to her Facebook page last night, Pinkett Smith posted, perhaps on her husband’s behalf: "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."
The news was originally broken by Avery’s co-star – and son in the series - Alfonso Ribeiro, who played Carlton Banks.
Also taking to Facebook, Ribeiro wrote on his wall: “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."
Tatyana Ali, who played James' on-screen daughter Ashley Banks, similarly paid tribute, this time taking to Twitter to write the following:
James was my teacher my protector & the most magnificent actor. We’re feeling his loss very deeply. He’ll always be apart of me #JamesAveryTatyana Ali (@TatyanaAli) January 1, 2014
Avery's publicist, Cynthia Snyder, told the Associated Press that he died in Glendale, California, yesterday following complications from open heart surgery.
Avery grew up in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and served in the navy in Vietnam in the late 1960s. After returning to the States, he settled in California and studied drama and literature at the University of California at San Diego.
He is survived by his wife, Barbara, and stepson, Kevin Waters.
The news comes just a week after Fresh Prince of Bel Air producer Jeff Pollack was found dead aged 54.
The famed director, who was behind comedies such as Lost & Found, Booty Call and drama Above The Rim, died suddenly last Monday morning in Hermosa Beach, California.
He was found in Greenbelt Park, which is a popular spot for jogging and outdoor activities in the area. He was wearing jogging clothes, lieutenant Tom Thompson of the Hermosa Beach Police Department confirmed.
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Final farewell: The legends that left us in 2013
Final farewell: The legends that left us in 2013
Lou Reed, musician, The Velvet Underground: 1942 - 2913: "Reed didn’t seem happy for a day of his life; except when he was wrecking someone else’s day by being too entirely himself, which was rarely a likeable proposition."
Marcia Wallace, the voice of The Simpson's Edna Krabbappel: 1942 - 2013: "Wallace played Bart Simpson's jaded school teacher - known for her sharp, derisory laugh - for more than 20 years, winning an Emmy for the role in 1992."
Phil Chevron, musician, The Pogues: 1957 - 2013: "The Irish singer, guitarist and songwriter Philip Chevron played a pivotal role with two groups who put his country on the music map."
Tom Clancy: 1947 - 2013: "Clancy, 66, sold some 50 million books over his three-decade writing career. Most famously, he created CIA analyst and later US president, Jack Ryan, who tackled Soviet submarines in Red October."
Ken Norton, former heavyweight boxing champion who beat Muhammad Ali: 1943 - 2013: "Ken Norton was making less than $500 a fight before he was selected as an easy option for Muhammad Ali in what would become the first of arguably boxing's finest heavyweight trilogy."
Sir David Frost, broadcaster: 1939 - 2013: "His spellbinding interrogation of Richard Nixon in 1977, the first after the President’s resignation over Watergate, was his career-defining moment."
Seamus Heaney, poet: 1939 - 2013: "In his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, delivered in Stockholm in 1995, Heaney recalled his first encounter with European languages via the radio in the kitchen of his wartime Co Derry home."
Jon Brookes, drummer with The Charlatans: 1969 - 2013: "Brookes was a founder member of the group, who, because they relocated to Cheshire, are still routinely described as a "Madchester" band."
Elmore Leonard, author: 1925 - 2013: "While Mr Leonard’s preferred territory was low-rent America peopled by conmen, loan sharks, whores and hustlers, his place in the literary firmament was entirely of a higher category."
Jeff Hanneman, guitarist for pioneering metal band Slayer: 1964 - 2013: "Hanneman, who wrote songs “Raining Blood” and “Angel of Death”, had spent most of 2011 battling a flesh-eating disease contracted after he was bitten by a spider."
Ray Harryhausen, special effects pioneer: 1920 - 2013: "The pioneer worked on films including Clash of the Titans and Sinbad, influenced directors from Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson to James Cameron as well as Wallace & Gromit creator Nick Park."
Richard Griffiths, actor: 1947 - 2013: "Famed among younger generations for his role in the Harry Potter films, he was hailed as 'one of the very greatest' British actors."
James Herbert, horror author: 1943 - 2013: "James Herbert was a writer of horror books who turned a difficult childhood into a dark creativity which made him a best-selling author who specialised in making the flesh creep."
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