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Will Smith pays tribute to former ‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ co-star

Will Smith (Photo credit: Bang Media)

Will Smith paid an emotional tribute to his former “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” co-star James Avery.

The 51-year-old actor organized a virtual reunion with his former castmates for the finale of his Snapchat series, “Will at Home,” and they used the opportunity to pay tribute to the late actor, who starred as Uncle Phil on the hit sitcom.

After a video tribute to the star, a visibly emotional Smith — who was joined by Tatyana Ali, Alfonso Ribiero, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Daphne Reid, and Karyn Parsons — said: “That just makes me teary … James Avery, James Avery, James Avery.”

Reid, 71, who played James’ onscreen wife Aunt Viv, also hailed the late actor, who passed away in 2013 at the age of 68 from complications following open-heart surgery.

She said: “I loved that man.”

Smith also shared the touching tribute on his Instagram account.

He captioned the post: “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. (sic)”

Meanwhile, he previously confessed he “can’t bear” to watch old episodes of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”

The Hollywood star can be seen mouthing other people’s lines in the first few episodes of the sitcom and looking back, he feels embarrassed by his early performances.

“It was my very first role and I was very, very focused on being successful so I learned the whole script and everyone else’s lines,” Smith — who starred on the show from 1990 until 1996 — told  “Entertainment Tonight.”

“If you watch the first four or five episodes, you can see I’m mouthing other people’s lines. It’s terrible, and I can’t bear to watch it.”