Every man needs an Uncle Phil…
Will Smith broke his silence Monday morning on Facebook and shared a few words about his "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" co-star James Avery, 68, who passed away on Dec. 31.
Smith, 45, posted a photo of the last time he and Avery were together, and it also features several other members of the fictional Banks family: Karyn Parsons (Hilary), Alfonso Ribeiro (Carlton), Tatyana M. Ali (Ashley). The A-lister also included a touching note as a tribute to his late friend.
In the hit '90s sitcom, Smith's character looked to his Uncle Phil as a father after his own parents abandoned him. Uncle Phil was always there for Will as a source of sound advice and was known for his quick quips about Will's many silly blunders.
The "After Earth" actor wasn't the only star from the six-season show that thought of Avery as a mentor and a teacher.
Ribeiro and Ali both shared similar sentiments on Twitter.
I'm deeply saddened to say that James Avery has passed away. He was a second father to me. I will miss him greatly. pic.twitter.com/UrW0EeBFbO
— Alfonso Ribeiro (@alfonso_ribeiro) January 1, 2014
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
— Tatyana Ali (@TatyanaAli) January 1, 2014
Smith's wife Jada Pinkett Smith, also posted a note on Facebook following the news of Avery's death.
"Happy New Year everyone! I was hoping to start the new year differently but we have lost yet another friend. 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."
From the many social media sentiments, it is clear that Avery was more than just a great actor, and his co-stars and many adoring fans will certainly miss him.