James Avery: ‘Fresh Prince’ Actor Dies At 68

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Veteran actor James Avery, best known for his iconic role as “Uncle Phil (Banks)” on the classic series “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” died on New Year’s Eve from complications stemming from heart surgery, reports TMZ. He was 68-years-old.

Sources close to the actor tell TMZ he died in an L.A. hospital last night. Avery had recently undergone surgery for an undisclosed illness 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!”

Alfonso Ribeiro, who played the role of Avery’s TV son, Carlton Banks, expresses his grief on social media, tweeting:

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