Beloved actor James Avery, best known for his role as Uncle Phil in the Will Smith vehicle Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, died Tuesday, on New Year's Eve, due to complications resulting from open-heart surgery.  News of the 67-year-old actor’s passing was tweeted by fellow Fresh Prince star Alfonso Ribero via Twitter.

"I'm deeply saddened to say that James Avery has passed away," Riberio tweeted. "He was a second father to me. I will miss him greatly.”

Avery was a classically-trained actor who was born and raised in Atlantic City, New Jersey and served in the Navy during the Vietnam War. He often played commanding and authoritative roles because of his large voice and outstanding presence.

Most recently, Avery appeared in Zach Braff’s film Wish I Was There, which is slated to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival later this month.  He is survived by his wife Barbara, mother Florence, and stepson Kevin Waters.