BRIT-born Frasier actor John Mahoney has passed away in a hospice aged 77.
The star played Martin Crane – the crabby dad of Kelsey Grammer's character in the popular US sitcom – for 11 seasons.
Actor John Mahoney has died at the age of 77, according to reports
He passed away at the age of 77 yesterday at a hospice in Chicago, TMZ reports, quoting the actor’s publicist.
The cause of death was not immediately announced.
Born in Blackpool, Mahoney began his career on the stage in the UK before moving to the US.
He went on to win a Tony Award for best featured actor in a play for his role in The House of Blue Leaves.
He also enjoyed roles in a number of films, including The American President, Moonstruck, Say Anything and Eight Men Out before working on Frasier between 1993 and 2004.
After Frasier ended, he returned to the theatre, but appeared on TV in Hot in Cleveland.
Casting director Jeff Greenberg tweeted: “The great John Mahoney passed away today at age 77.
“I've not known a kinder man nor more brilliant actor.
“We were all blessed to have spent 11 glorious years together.”
John didn't become an actor until the age of 37, after he quit a job as a medical journal editor to follow his dream of performing on the stage.
He was extremely secretive about his private life and never married, nor had kids.
In a 2008 interview with Time Out he hinted illness had robbed him of his sex life.
He said: "That’s dead and buried. Twenty-three years ago I had cancer of the colon.
"I had to have major surgery, and I have a colostomy. I really couldn’t have sex after that.
"I’m very happy by myself and with my friends, but no, I’m definitely not involved with anybody. Nor do I ever look to be."
He once said: "The theatre is my brother, my sister, my father, my mother, my wife."
His pivotal role in Frasier was a key of the show's success.
He played a hard down-to-Earth ex-Seattle cop who clashed with his pompous rich son.
Actor John Cusack was among those who paid tribute, writing on Twitter: "He made everyone around him better and happier each day."
Ben Stiller, Zach Braff and director Cameron Crowe also commended the veteran actor on Twitter.
Born in Blackpool in 1940, he was the seventh of eight children.
He moved to the US as a teenager, joining the military which helped him become an American citizen.