Sherman Hemsley Dead

7/24/2012 1:57 PM PDT UPDATED: 7/24/2012 2:03 PM PDT

Sherman Hemsley Dead -- Actor Who Played George Jefferson Dies at 74


1:58 PM PT --
Sources tell us ... Hemsley was discovered by his nurse ... who initially believed the actor was asleep. Once she realized something was wrong, she called for help.

Sherman Hemsley
, the actor who made the character George Jefferson famous in "The Jeffersons," has died, El Paso cops tell TMZ.

Hemsley died at his home in El Paso, Texas. 

Sources tell us ... it appears Hemsley died from natural causes.

Hemsley, who was 74, became famous during his appearances on "All in the Family."  The spin-off, "The Jeffersons" was a monster hit.  He also starred in the TV show, "Amen."  He was also a professional singer and even released the single in 1989, "Ain't that A Kick in the Head."

Hemsley had no wife and no kids. It's unclear how he died.