Jada’s tribute to James Avery

Jada Pinkett Smith

Jada Pinkett Smith is mourning the death of family friend James Avery.

The 42-year-old actress wished fans a Happy New Year on her Facebook page Wednesday, but revealed she was doing so with some sadness following news the beloved actor had died at the age of 68.

“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,” Jada wrote.

“Our condolences to aunt Florence (his mother), Miss Barbara (his wife) and all those who loved him. Rest in peace James. J.”

James was a good friend of Jada and husband Will Smith, who played the nephew of the TV veteran on hit 90s series The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.

The actor’s publicist told the Associated Press James had died Tuesday in Glendale, California due to complications from open heart surgery.

Fresh Prince star Alfonso Ribeiro, who played James’ son on the program, also paid tribute to his on-screen dad.

“The world has lost a truly special man. I am very saddened to say that James Avery has passed,” he wrote on his Facebook page Wednesday.

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

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