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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

No Avatar
61.

kathy johnson    

loved him as horscach, rest in peace

763 days ago
62.

Char    

RIP Horshack!!! Oh oh oh oh oh oh Mr. Cartar!! Many years of entertainment.

763 days ago
63.

LI_Mom    

R.I.P. Ron.

He brought a lot of happiness to 'Kotter' fans back in the day!

763 days ago
64.

Jeffrey Broadnax    

Ron Palillo played an odd and goofy character as "Horshack" in the humorous "Welcome Back Cotter" sitcom. I wish his family and friends well during their period of bereavement. Thanks Ron for the laughs.

763 days ago
65.

Amused One     

The article states "The heart attack was unexpected" - Just when the hell IS a heart attack expected?

oy

763 days ago
66.

cathy    

Rest in peace. You had us laughing for years Thank you

763 days ago
67.

wait what    

Who knew Horshack was gay??

763 days ago
68.

grannypam    

R.I. P... RON, I was sorry too hear about your Passing.. May God watch over your Family .

763 days ago
69.

myriam    

R.I.P Robert Hegyes (Epstein) and Ron Palillo (Horshack). Thank You both for the laughter.

763 days ago
70.

Lynn    

"We're told the heart attack was very unexpected. Palillo was 63." Who expects a heart attack?!!

763 days ago
71.

mrs.leake    

HE WAS COOL IN WELCOME BACK KOTTER LOVED HIS ROLE THAT HE PLAYED SO FUNNY.

763 days ago
72.

pepperjack410    

Horseshack was very funny..RIP....

763 days ago
73.

myopinion    

RIP Ron you will be missed.

763 days ago
74.

Criss    

That sucks. He wasn't even old! Neither was Robert Hegyes.

763 days ago
75.

CLINT    

Loved Welcome Back Kotter and Horshack was my favorite. In high school I had a shirt with him on it saying, ohohoh. Used to get made fun of for that shirt, but still, he was my favorite on the show.

763 days ago
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