james avery*We don’t have all the details, but sadly we have to report that actor James Avery has died. He was 68.

Avery who played the father (and Will Smith’s Uncle Phil) on “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” passed away at an LA area hospital last night.

Alfonso Ribeiro posted on Twitter: “I’m deeply saddened to say that James Avery has passed away. He was a second father to me. I will miss him greatly.”

Ribiero, who played his son Carlton Banks on the sitcom, also took to his Facebook page to play tribute to the actor.

He wrote that Avery as a “truly special man” and said he was a “wonderful father figure” in his life.

Avery had recently undergone surgery for an undisclosed illness and took a turn for the worse late yesterday. When EUR spoke with one of the cast members a few years ago, he mention that Avery had been battling diabetes.

According to TMZ, his wife, Barbara, had been at his bedside but left for a short period of time to get something to eat.  When she came back, she learned he had just died.

James Avery, born in 1948, was most known for his role as Phillip Banks on Fresh Prince but also was known for voicing the character Shredder in the original “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” television series and made multiple cameo appearances on popular programs like “That 70′s Show,” “CSI” and “Closer.”

Avery took part in 148 episodes of Fresh Prince of Bel Air and was ranked as TV Guide’s 34th best television series ‘Dad’ of all-time and even spent time voicing video game characters as well.