Will Smith Pays Tribute to James Avery In Facebook

12:42 PM EST 1/7/2014 by Virginia Favis, Celebeat Reporter

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Will Smith paid tribute to his friend and mentor, the late James Avery. On Sunday, Jan. 5, a week after the passing of Avery, Smith took to his official Facebook page to share his thoughts about the man who played his uncle in The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air.

"Some of my greatest lessons in Acting, Living and being a respectable human being came through James Avery," he wrote. "Every young man needs an Uncle Phil. Rest in Peace."

The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air was the roots of the Men In Black's acting career which ran from 1990 to 1996. The 45-year-old actor also posted a photo of the two with fellow co-stars Alfonso Ribeiro, Karyn Parsons and Tatyana Ali. He added: "This photo was the last time we were together."

According to TMZ, the actor died in a Los Angeles hospital after undergoing open heart surgery.

Florence Avery, the actor's mother, told the NY Daily News: "It breaks my heart. My child was a great person who helped anyone he could. He was really just a nice person whose great passion in life was reading."

Other celebrities have also shared their condolences to the family.

Alfonso Ribeiro posted on his Facebook page : "The world has lost a truly special man. I am very saddened to say that James Avery has passed.

"Even though he played my father on TV, he was a wonderful father figure to me in life. He will be deeply missed."

Tatyana Ali also paid tribute to the late actor. She took to her Twitter account and wrote: "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 (sic)."

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