Actor Fred Willard’s May 15 death was believed to be from natural causes, but his death certificate paints a clearer picture.
According to the certificate, obtained by TMZ on Wednesday, May 3, the Modern Family star, who was 86 at the time of his passing, suffered a cardiac arrest. The underlying causes are listed as myelodysplastic syndrome and coronary artery disease.
At the time of his death, his daughter told The Hollywood Reporter that he passed “peacefully … He kept moving, working and making us happy until the very end. We loved him so very much! We will miss him forever.”
Tributes from Willard’s former costars rolled in following the news.
“Rest In Peace sweet @Fred_Willard. You will always be a true original and I am so honored that our lives intersected. No one will ever come close to replacing your genius,” Jesse Tyler Ferguson tweeted.
Steve Carell, who starred in Anchorman alongside the Ohio native wrote, “Fred Willard was the funniest person that I’ve ever worked with He was a sweet, wonderful man.”
On TV, Willard scored Emmy nominations for his recurring role as Hank MacDougall on Everybody Loves Raymond in 2003, 2004 and 2005. His Modern Family character, Frank Dunphy, appeared in episodes across 11 seasons of the ABC hit, scoring an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series in 2010. His character died of old age in January.
In addition to being an accomplished comedian (appearing with his comedy group Ace Trucking Company on The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson more than 50 times), the actor starred in films like Best in Show, Youth in Revolt, and WALL-E.
Willard can currently be seen in the Netflix series Space Force beside Carell, 57, which premiered on May 29.
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