James Avery

Actor James Avery — best known as the beloved dad on the 1990’s TV series, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air — has died. He was 65.

According to TMZ.com, the actor died in a Glendale, Calif. hospital on New Year’s Eve (Dec. 31). He had undergone open heart surgery, which took a turn for the worse late yesterday.

The report said that his wife Barbara had been at his bedside, but left for a short period of time and upon returning, he had passed away.

Alfonso Ribeiro, who played Avery’s son Carlton Banks on the show, praised the late actor (in a Facebook post) for being a father figure to him beyond Fresh Prince. “The world has lost a truly special man,” he wrote. “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.”

Outside of Fresh Prince, Avery starred in dozens of TV shows throughout the years — including Grey’s Anatomy, The Closer, L.A. LawThe Jeffersons.