'Fresh Prince' cast honors late co-star James Avery: 'We all love and miss you'

Avery, who played Uncle Phil on the series, died in 2013.
/ Source: TODAY

The cast of "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" honored their late co-star James Avery during their virtual reunion this week.

Will Smith was joined remotely by Alfonso Ribeiro, Tatyana Ali, Karyn Parsons, Daphne Maxwell Reid, Joseph Marcell and DJ Jazzy Jeff for the reunion, which aired Wednesday and Thursday on Smith's Snapchat show, “Will From Home.”

While sharing their favorite memories of shooting the beloved '90s sitcom, the actors celebrated the memory of Avery, who died of complication from heart surgery in 2013 at age 68.

Avery played Philip Banks, a married dad of three (later four) who does his sister-in-law a favor by letting her son Will (Smith) come and live with his family in Bel-Air to escape trouble in urban Philadelphia.

"That just makes me teary," Smith says as the cast watches footage of Avery in character. Smith wasn't alone. Several of the actors struggled to hold back tears as scenes of Uncle Phil sharing words of wisdom to his family played in front of them.

James Avery, top left, with the cast of "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air." Getty Images

Smith shared a video of the emotional tribute Thursday on Instagram, writing,"Our show wouldn’t have been HALF what it was without the talent and light that was James Avery. We all love and miss you, James."

During the reunion, cast members also shared behind-the-scenes anecdotes and answered long-running questions about the series, such as why Smith's character was also named Will Smith. Turns out, Ribeiro, who played Will's cousin Carlton, advised the star to use his real name on the show.

"It was such a deep insight that you had," Smith said. "You said, because people are going to call you that for the rest of your life!"