It was reported by actor Alfonso Ribeiro that beloved TV actor James Avery had passed away on New Year's Eve. This was announced via Ribeiro's Twitter page. The following statement was released to his followers earlier this morning: "I'm deeply saddened to say that James Avery has passed away. He was a second father to me. I will miss him greatly."
Not too long ago, it was announced that Avery was to undergo surgery for an undisclosed illness. With a career spanning over three decades and a grand total of 172 big screen, TV, and video game voice credits, Avery will forever be remembered by children of the 1980s and 1990s as both the voice of the villainous Shredder from the animated hit television series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as well as the strong yet humorous Uncle Phil from the cult classic sitcom, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air (in which he played Ribeiro's father).
Further sources, information, and interviews can be read at both TMZ and the Internet Movie Database.