James Avery's Death: Jada Pinkett Smith, 'Fresh Prince' Co-Stars Pay Tribute

James Avery
James Avery
 Courtesy of Toni Benson

New Year's Day also marked the death of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star James Avery, due to complications from open heart surgery in Glendale.

The actor, who also voiced Shredder in the 1987-93 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles TV series and James Rhodes in the short-lived mid-'90s Iron Man animated series, was 68.

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Will Smith's wife, actress Jada Pinkett Smith, posted her thoughts to her Facebook page: "Damn. I just heard about James 'Uncle Phil' Avery. One of tv's great 3 dimensional characters. Something hard for African Americans to nab."

Alfonso Ribeiro first published the news on his social media accounts, with Avery's co-stars, colleagues and celebrity fans following suit to offer their condolences:

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