"James was my teacher my protector & the most magnificent actor. We're feeling his loss very deeply. He'll always be apart of me," Ali wrote on Twitter after news of Avery's death broke.
A poem of friendship by Nikki Giovanni: We are not lovers because of the love we make but the love we have pic.twitter.com/H0HhqmEwjo— Tatyana Ali (@TatyanaAli) January 2, 2014
The 34-year-old actress went on to recite the poem in three different Tweets.
"We are not friends because of the laughs we spend but the tears we save.
I don't want to be near you for the thoughts we share but the words we never have to speak.
I will never miss you because of what we do but what we are together."
Ali played Avery's daughter, Ashley, on the NBC hit show from 1990 to 1996. Her co-stars Will Smith, Alfonso Ribeiro and Tyra Banks -- who had a recurring role in the show's fourth season -- also took to social media to pay tribute to Uncle Phil.
Avery died at a Glendale, Calif. hospital on New Year's Eve after undergoing an open heart sugary.
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