Welcome Back, Kotter's Ron Palillo dead at 63

Aug 14, 2012 at 2:04 p.m. ET

Hollywood has lost another TV veteran. Former Welcome Back, Kotter star Ron Palillo has died. His body was found this morning in his Florida home.

Ron Palillo

Ron Palillo, who's best known for playing Arnold Horshack on Welcome Back, Kotter, has passed away. According to multiple sources, the 63-year-old died of a heart attack in his sleep.

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TMZ reports that Palillo's body was found Tuesday morning at his Palm Beach, Florida home. His longtime partner Joseph Gramm discovered him around 4 a.m. and immediately called an ambulance. Palillo was rushed to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

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One of Palillo's friends said the heart attack was sudden. Although he was a heavy smoker, Palillo appeared to be in good health. But he'd been dealing with a bad cough and was scheduled to see a doctor today.

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Even though Welcome Back, Kotter was his claim to fame, Palillo wasn't a one-trick pony. Over the past 30 years, he'd kept himself busy with television, film and theater. He even expanded his resume with voice acting. He gave life to characters on Darkwing Duck, Superman, The Pound Puppies and Midnight Patrol: Adventures in the Dream Zone.

Palillo's last acting credit was 2010's It's a Dog Gone Tale: Destiny's Stand, which he wrote and also starred in. Lately, he'd been working as a teacher at G-Star School of the Arts for Motion Pictures and Broadcasting.

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In a strange coincidence, Palillo's Kotter co-star Robert Hegyes died earlier this year. He also suffered a heart attack and was only 60 years old.

Photo credit: Adriana M. Barraza/WENN