Jada Pinkett-Smith has publicly paid tribute to James Avery, who sadly died December 31, following complications from open-heart surgery at the age of 68.
Pinkett-Smith is married to Will Smith (who starred with Avery on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air for six years between 1990 and 1996), posted the following on her Facebook page: "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." She went on to give her condolences to his mother Florence and Barbara, his wife.
However, a controversial tweet by someone pretending to be Will Smith has gone viral. The tweet asked followers to retweet the message, which claimed that NBC and Smith are planning an honorary episode, granted the tweet could gain more than 300,000 retweets.
The tweet was debunked as completely false (the profile was both unverified and created the day before). However, it did manage to get over 115,000 retweets.
Various celebrities and friends of Avery did post their sentiments on Twitter and Facebook. Among them were Avery's "son", Alfonso Ribeiro, Reba McEntire (who Avery worked with on Reba), Zach Braff (who directed Avery in the upcoming Wish I Was Here) and many, many others.
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