Actor James Avery, better known as Uncle Phil on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is dead at the age of 68. The actor passed away in Glendale, California in a nearby hospital after complications from open heart surgery. A source close to the family told TMZ his wife Barbara, was by his bedside the entire time except for a short period and in that time he succumb to his death. He is most known for his role as Uncle Phil in the popular family sitcom.
The show lasted 6 seasons from 1990 to May of 1996 in which his co-star Will Smith officially transformed his career from rapper to full time actor. A source close to Will said he was ringing in the New Years with his family when he got the call. The source released the following statement on behalf of Will:
Working with James was a big part of his life.. in fact, James was something of a father figure to Will. He’s devastated by the death.. James will be sorely missed.
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.
Earlier today Alfonso Ribeiro–the actor who played his son Carlton–was the first actor from the hit series to tweet about his death along with a picture, writing:
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, who played Ashley on the show, added:
James was my teacher my protector & the most magnificent actor. We’re feeling his loss very deeply. He’ll always be apart of me #JamesAvery
He survived by his wife, mother Florence Avery, and stepson Kevin Waters.
Photo Credit: Twitter