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Actor Jay Thomas Dead At 69 (Photos)

Jay Thomas, a comic actor best known for his roles on sitcoms "Murphy Brown" and "Cheers," has passed away at the age of 69.

According to CNN, Thomas' publicist, Tom Estey, has confirmed that the actor passed away at 69 following a battle with cancer.

"Jay Thomas was on of the funniest and kindest men I have had the honor to call both client and friend for 25 years plus," Estey said in a statement. "He will be dearly missed by so many."

Don Buchwald, Thomas' longtime agent and friend, confirmed that Thomas died at his home in Santa Barbara, California, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Thomas was best known for his role as talk-show host Jerry Gold on CBS' "Murphy Brown," as well as his role as Eddie LeBec, a goalie with the Boston Bruins, on NBC's "Cheers."

More recently, Thomas had a recurring role as Marty Grossman on Showtime's "Ray Donovan."

Thomas was longtime friends with David Letterman, who had the actor on "The Late Show with David Letterman" annually during the holiday season to tell a story, which Letterman referred to as "the greatest talk show story of all time."

"I loved Jay," Letterman told CNN. "His Lone Ranger story was the best I heard in 30 years. Plus, nobody could throw a football like Jay. Maybe Tina Fey, maybe. My heart goes out to his family."

Thomas first told his "Lone Ranger" story on Letterman's show in 1998 and returned every year to tell it until Letterman retired, save for 2013, when Thomas was recovering from surgery.

A number of celebrities paid tribute to Thomas following the news of his death, according to Deadline.

"I love Jay Thomas," wrote comedian Tom Arnold on Twitter. "Many unscripted inappropriate laughs everytime we worked together. My thoughts today are with his beloved family."

"RIP Jay Thomas," wrote "Murphy Brown" creator Diane English. "He was gifted. I would have loved to write another role for him. RIP Jay. Heartbroken to hear this news. One of a kind."

"Had the pleasure of casting and directing Jay Thomas many years ago," wrote Rob Lowe. "He was fantastic, an underrated dramatic actor. And a great guy."

"#RIP Jay Thomas," actress Maureen McCormick wrote in a tweet. "Such a pleasure working w him years ago on Love Boat. Nicest guy and great actor. You will be missed"

"Jay Thomas did it all, comic, TV, movies, radio," comedian Christopher Titus wrote. "Always fun to be with. A hilarious blue collar guy. Thanks for the laughs. RIP"

Sources: The Hollywood ReporterCNNDeadline / Featured Image: Alan Light/Flickr / Embedded Images: CBS via THR, Rex/AP via Deadline