The Men in Black star worked alongside Avery for six seasons on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and in a message posted on Facebook.com on Sunday (05Jan14), Smith admits the late actor was very much a mentor for him.
He writes, "Some of my greatest lessons in Acting, Living and being a respectable human being came through James Avery. Every young man needs an Uncle Phil. Rest in Peace".
Smith has also posted a photo of himself with former castmates Alfonso Ribeiro, Tatyana Ali, Karyn Parsons and Avery online, adding, "This photo was the last time we were together".
The actor's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, was one of the first people to pay tribute to Avery. Ribiero, Ali, Don Cheadle and Zach Braff have also offered their thoughts following the news of Avery's death.