updated 01/01/2014 AT 1:00 PM ET
•originally published 01/01/2014 AT 2:05 PM ET
“I’m deeply saddened to say that James Avery has passed away,” Alfonso Ribeiro, who played his son, Carlton, on the hit sitcom, Tweeted Wednesday. “He was a second father to me. I will miss him greatly.”
The New Jersey-born star had recently undergone surgery for an undisclosed illness and passed away at an L.A. hospital, TMZ reports.
In addition to playing Smith’s beloved uncle, Avery guest-starred on That ’70s Show, CSI, The Closer and Grey’s Anatomy.