Actor James Avery arrives at the Palm Pre Launch Event...

Actor James Avery arrives at the Palm Pre Launch Event to Benefit Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America held at Raleigh Studios in Los Angeles. (June 3, 2009) Credit: Getty Images

James Avery, best known for playing Will Smith's beloved Uncle Phil on the 1990 sitcom "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air," has died, according to multiple sources.

Avery, 68, reportedly had recently undergone surgery and died while hospitalized on Dec. 31.

The actor had a career that spanned four decades, having appeared in television shows such as "Newhart," "The Jeffersons," "Hill Street Blues," "The Dukes of Hazard," "St. Elsewhere," "Cagney & Lacey," "The A-Team," "That's So Raven" and "Grey's Anatomy," among others, and in films including "The Blues Brothers," starring John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd. He also voiced several cartoon characters, including Shredder in "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," a gorilla in "The Wild Thornberrys"  and an unnamed character in "The Prince of Egypt."

A native of Atlantic City, Avery also was a Vietnam veteran.

Alfonso Ribeiro, who played his son, Carlton, on "Fresh Prince," took to Twitter to express his grief and pay his respects: "I'm deeply saddened to say that James Avery has passed away. He was a second father to me. I will miss him greatly."

So will we, Alfonso, so will we.

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