Will Smith says he has been left shocked and devastated over the sudden death of his The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air co-star James Avery.james-avery-fresh-prince-of-bel-air_1265121326

Avery died in an L.A. hospital last night, after recently undergoing surgery for an undisclosed illness.

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Smith was working in Dubai when he found out the news by phone.

“Will was ringing in the New Year with his family when an associate told him the news,” a source said.

“Working with James was a big part of his life.. in fact, James was something of a father figure to Will.

“He’s devastated by the death.. James will be sorely missed.”

Avery played Will’s uncle, Philip Banks, in the TV show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

James’ character  was ranked #34 in TV Guide’s “50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time.

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