Tatyana Ali as Ashley Banks, James Avery as Philip Banks, and Will Smith as William 'Will' Smith in a scene from "The Fresh Prince of Bell-Air" in 1991. Avery died on Tuesday at the age of 65. Credit: Tom/NBCU Photo Bank
James Avery, the man known worldwide as the gruff but lovable Uncle Phil from the '90s sitcom "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," died on Tuesday night. He was 65.
Alfonso Ribeiro, who played his son Carlton Banks on the series, posted a message noting his passing on Facebook.
"The world has lost a truly special man. I am very saddened to say that James Avery has passed," he wrote. "Even though he played my father on TV, he was a wonderful father figure to me in life. He will be deeply missed." [videoembed id= 310693]
TMZ.com reports that Avery died in an L.A. hospital from complications following open heart surgery.