News: Will Smith Finally Breaks Silence On 'Fresh Prince' Co-Star's Passing: "Every Young Man Needs An Uncle Phil"

Monday, Jan 6, 2014 2:35PM

Written by Cyrus Langhorne

Days after the shocking passing of "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" actor James Avery, mega Hollywood star Will Smith has stepped forward to remember his co-star.

Big Willy relied on Facebook to pay homage to Avery and note the lessons he taught him.

Posting a picture of the last time he and James were together -- a photo that includes several other Fresh Prince stars -- Will wrote a beautiful tribute. "Some of my greatest lessons in Acting, Living, and being a respectable human being came through James," Will wrote. "Every young man needs an Uncle Phil. Rest in peace." (Hollywood Life)

Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, remembered Avery's life last week.

"Happy New Year everyone! I was hoping to start the new year differently but we have lost yet another friend," Pinkett Smith wrote on Facebook last night. "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. Rest in peace James." (E! Online)

A few days ago, Tatyana Ali, who played Avery's daughter on the popular 90's show, credited him for the lessons he taught her.

"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," she tweeted January 1. (Tatyana Ali's Twitter)

Fellow "Fresh Prince" actor DJ Jazzy Jeff also reflected on Avery's off-screen presence via Twitter.

"RIP James Avery...Thank U for the talks,travel tips and the jazz cd's. A great Friend and Even Better Person...You will be Missed!! #FPOB" (DJ Jazzy Jeff's Twitter)

Frequent "Fresh Prince" guest star Tyra Banks reflected on the late actor's warm personality.

"Sending condolences to the family of James Avery, "Uncle Phil" of the Fresh Prince. I'll always remember how warm he was to me on set." (Tyra Banks' Twitter)

According to reports, complications during a surgery caused his unexpected death.

Sources close to the actor tell TMZ he died in an Glendale, CA hospital last night. Avery had undergone open heart surgery and took a turn for the worse late yesterday. And we're told ... his wife, Barbara, had been at his bedside but left for a short period of time and when she came back ... she learned he had just died. Avery starred in dozens of TV shows through the years -- shows like "Grey's Anatomy," "The Closer," "L.A. Law," and "The Jeffersons." This past year, he appeared in three TV movies -- most recently, "Go, Bolivia, Go!" -- but didn't appear to have other projects in the works. (TMZ)

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