I'm deeply saddened to say that James Avery has passed away. He was a second father to me. I will miss him greatly.
James Avery, who played Uncle Phil on the ’90s hit series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, died on New Year’s Eve in Glendale, Calif., at the age of 68, a representative for the late actor confirmed to BuzzFeed.
Avery, who had cameos on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and the NBC drama Harry’s Law in 2012 and appeared in a few 2013 TV movies, died after complications from open-heart surgery.
The late actor worked until September 2013, shooting the Zach Braff-directed, Kickstarter-funded comedy Wish I Was Here, which will premiere at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival later this month. He is survived by his wife Barbara Avery, his mother Florence Avery, and his stepson Kevin Waters.
Alfonso Ribeiro, who played Avery’s TV son Carlton on Fresh Prince, mourned the loss of Avery on Twitter and Facebook on New Year’s Day.
Correction: An earlier version of this post misstated Avery’s age at the time of his death. He was 68.