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Ron Palillo Dead at 63

'Welcome Back, Kotter' Star

Dies from Heart Attack

8/14/2012 9:01 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Exclusive Details

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Ron Palillo -- the actor who played Horshack on "Welcome Back, Kotter" -- died this morning at his home near Palm Beach, FL from an apparent heart attack ... this according to someone close to the actor.

We're told Palillo was found by his partner of many years Joseph Gramm around 4:00 AM. Gramm called an ambulance and Palillo was rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

We're told the heart attack was very unexpected. Palillo was 63.

According to one of Palillo's colleagues at G-Star School of the Arts, Palillo had appeared to be in good health ... but was a heavy smoker. We're told he had been suffering from a bad cough and had even scheduled a doctor's appointment for today.

Palillo was known for calling out, "Ooh ooh ooh, Mr. Kotter" as one of the Sweathogs on the show ... which he appeared on with John Travolta from 1975 to 1979. 



After Kotter, Palillo appeared in "Laverne & Shirley" and voiced a character on the Disney cartoon, "Darkwing Duck."

Palillo's "Kotter" co-star Robert Hegyes -- who played Epstein -- also passed away earlier this year after suffering a heart attack.

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194 COMMENTS

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16.

stu    

there a reason this show only lasted 4 seasons.
so there was 2 gay actors on the show.
didn't Wan die this yr?

739 days ago
17.

Proud2bBlack    

R.I.P. Horsshack "ooh ooh ooh"! I watched you everyday after school. Such memories television was so innocent then.

739 days ago
18.

charles    

R.I.P.

739 days ago
19.

Violette-Blue    

Rest In Peace my friend Ron. You will be remembered for the genuine and thoughtful person you were. I can't believe another talent gone.

739 days ago
20.

Kevin    

Once again....Those Damn Cigarettes.

People who smoke, think about quitting before you end up in a "poor me" situation.

739 days ago
21.

Tim    

I didn't know he was a pole smoker. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

739 days ago
22.

twinsies    

RIP Horshack. Say hi to Epstein

739 days ago
23.

Stacie    

I was too young to remember the show but it was a favorite of my family's. RIP Mr Palillo . Thoughts and many prayers to his family.

739 days ago
24.

Throwback kid    

He now joins Mr Woodman, Epstein and Hotsie Totsie in heaven. RIP Mr Horshack, thank you for the laughs and making the 1970's fun for us

739 days ago
25.

Laurie    

the good die young

739 days ago
26.

Freelance Proofreader    

When exactly are heart attacks expected, and when are they VERY UNEXPECTED? I'm guessing they are always unexpected.

739 days ago
27.

Carl    

He fought Dustin Diamond in a celebrity boxing match once. The wrong one of them left us today.

739 days ago
28.

Ravenwolf    

aww damn another childhood memory gone.

739 days ago
29.

She's baaaack    

RIP in sweathog heaven "Horshak." When I read that article I thought it is a shame that the man who was by his side for many years was only a "partner" like they were long time business partners instead of two people in a loving relationship. Just sayin'

739 days ago
30.

Smalls    

Gone but that distinctive laugh, not forgotten! Was one of my fav shows!

739 days ago
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