Fred Willard, 'Best in Show' and 'Modern Family' comedy star, has died

Fred Willard is seen at the 42nd annual Daytime Emmy Awards in Burbank Calif. in April 2015

Fred Willard is seen at the 42nd annual Daytime Emmy Awards in Burbank Calif. in April 2015

The comedic star, whose numerous credits include Best in Show, This Is Spinal Tap, Everybody Loves Raymond and Modern Family, died of natural causes, a rep for the actor confirms to PEOPLE. He also played the character of Frank Dunphy, the goofy father of Phil in the ABC series "Modern Family".

'How lucky that we all got to enjoy Fred Willard's gifts, ' Curtis tweeted. "He kept moving, working and making us happy until the very end", Willard's daughter Hope Mulbarger told People.

Willard is best known for his work in Guest's comedies - "Waiting for Guffman", "Best in Show", "For Your Consideration" and "A Mighty Wind" - and was a scene-stealer in "This Is Spinal Tap", "Anchorman", "Austin Powers", and "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle". We loved him so very much! "He is with his missed Mary now", she wrote while bringing up his late wife who passed in 2018. Thanks for the deep belly laughs. Rest In Peace Fred.

Fred Willard, Comedy Veteran and Modern Family Favorite, Dead at 86
Actor Fred Willard has died at 86, reports say

His death comes almost two years after the passing of his wife of 50 years, Mary Willard, who died in 2018 when she was 71 years old. The following summer, he also repressed his role playing talk show sidekick Jerry Hubbard in America 2-Night. She was a playwright and TV writer, earning four Emmy nominations.

Willard's career started in the New York City comedy scene of the 1950s, where he first made a name for himself as one half of a comedy duo alongside Vic Grecco. "RIP, Funny Man!" filmmaker Kevin Smith said on Twitter.

Fellow comedians, such as Steve Carell, Jimmy Kimmel, Henry Winkler and many more, posted tributes across social media.

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