From Showbiz Spy:

ACTOR Will Smith has been left “shocked” and devastated by the sudden death of his former costar James Avery.

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

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

Sources say Smith 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.”

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