NFL star-turned renowned actor Alex Karras sadly passed away from kidney failure on Wednesday (Oct. 10), and his "Webster" co-star Emmanuel Lewis recently released a heartfelt tribute statement to E! News offering his condolences on losing such a good friend and TV dad. A number of other celebrities also took to Twitter to express their sympathies over the unfortunate death of Karras.
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Karras and his wife Susan Clark both starred in the hit 1980s sitcom "Webster," with Lewis playing the part of their adopted son. The now 41-year-old released in an emotional statement to E! News, "My heartfelt condolences go out to Susan, Katie, George, Renny, Peter and the entire Karras & Clark family. My prayers are forever with you guys. I had a very heavy heart this morning and I did not know why. I understand now. Rest in Peace, my friend."
"Blazing Saddles" director Mel Brooks also spoke of the man who took on the small but memorable role of the strong but slow-witted thug Mongo in the popular 1974 satirical Western: "[He] was a great pleasure to work with. There was a lot of him and all of it was gentle, sweet, and surprisingly talented. I will miss him."
Former Detroit Lions football player Barry Sanders tweeted this, "I'd like to send my condolences to the family and friends of Alex Karras. May the great Lion rest in peace." Karras played with the Lions from 1958-1962 and 1964-1970 before going on to pursue a career in acting.
Karras, who suffered from numerous health problems in the years leading up to his death, was one of the more than 3,000 former NFL players involved in a lawsuit against the professional sports league concerning mass concussions. His wife Susan Clark also believes that the struggles Karras experienced later in life were a result of the physical beatings he took as a professional football player.
Other celebrity tweeters who paid tribute to Karras:
Howard Finkle, WWE Hall of Fame announcer: "RIP NFL great turned actor Alex Karras.. Loved his classic line in Blazing Saddles: 'Mongo only pawn in game of life'...."
Jon Hein, "Howard 100" news anchor: "RIP Mongo/George Papadapolis," (Karras' character names in "Blazing Saddles" and "Webster").
LAMonica Garrett, "Sons of Anarchy: "R.I.P Alex Karras. All-Pro NFL legend in the 60s turned accomplished actor.. Aka Mr. Popadopolis #Webster."
Thoughts and condolences go out to Karras' family and friends and all the acting/sports stars he influenced and inspired.