Will Smith breaks silence on death of 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' costar James Avery

By Gina DiFalco,

Will Smith has broken his silence on the death of James Avery, his television uncle on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The show put the actor on the map and he’s crediting Avery for helping shape who he is today.

Smith took to his Facebook page to pay tribute to Avery. “Some of my greatest lessons in Acting, Living and being a respectable human being came through James Avery. Every young man needs an Uncle Phil. Rest in Peace,” he adoringly wrote.

He also included a photo of himself with some members of the cast, writing, "This photo was the last time we were together.”

TMZ reported Avery had passed away on Dec. 31 at the age of 68. The cause of death is reportedly complications from open heart surgery.

As we previously reported, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air ran for six seasons of NBC. Alfonso Ribeiro, who played Carlton on the show, tweeted after his death, “I’m deeply saddened to say that James Avery has passed away. He was a second father to me. I will miss him greatly.”

Check out other Twitter reactions to Avery’s death here, and check out our top 5 picks for Uncle Phil moments here.

image: Amazon



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