Alfonso Ribeiro, who played his Tv son on the hit show, took to his Facebook page to break the sad news on Wednesday (01Jan14), calling Avery "a wonderful father figure to me in life".
He added, "The world has lost a truly special man... He will be deeply missed."
A representative for the late actor has confirmed his death, stating, "James Avery passed away due to complications from open heart surgery on Tuesday evening.”
He also appeared on Tv shows like That '70s Show, Csi: Crime Scene Investigation and Grey's Anatomy, and he provided provided the voice of Shredder in the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon.
His final film, Wish I Was Here, will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah later this month (Jan14).