James Avery, the actor who played Uncle Phil in the long-running TV sitcom Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, has died of complications following open heart surgery in Los Angeles. He was 65.

Avery was reportedly in poor health for years prior to his death.

Alfonso Ribeiro, who played Uncle Phil’s son Carlton on “Fresh Prince”, broke the news to his followers on Twitter.com on Wednesday, Jan. 1. ‘Fresh Prince’ launched the acting career of former rapper Will Smith.

Despite being a married father, Avery was the subject of many gay rumors for years. His wife, Barbara, was reportedly at his bedside at the end.

Avery may have been confused for gay TV dad Reginald VelJohnson, who played Carl Winslow on the TV sitcom Family Matters. Winslow, 61, reportedly came out to his friends and family.