Actor James Avery, who played Uncle Phil on the popular, long-running 90's sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, has passed away.  The New Jersey-born Avery was raised in Atlantic City.

 

 

The star, who lived with diabetes for more than a decade, had recently undergone surgery for an undisclosed illness and passed away at an L.A. hospital, according reports.

In addition to playing Will Smith's beloved uncle on The Fresh Prince, Avery guest-starred on That '70s Show, CSI, The Closer and Grey's Anatomy.

Tatiana Ali, who played Avery's daughter on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Tweeted about her TV dad's passing, saying, "James was my teacher my protector & the most magnificent actor. We're feeling his loss very deeply. He'll always be a part of me."

Will Smith has yet to release a statement, however his musical partner, DJ Jazzy Jeff, who also appeared on the show, Tweeted, "RIP James Avery...Thank U for the talks, travel tips and jazz cd's. A great Friend and Even Better Person...You will be Missed!! #FPOB"