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Ron 'Horshack' Palillo of 'Welcome Back, Kotter' Fame Dead at 63

By DNAinfo Staff on August 14, 2012 3:27pm

Ron Palillo of
Ron Palillo of "Welcome Back, Kotter" died at the age of 63 on Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2012.
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By Elizabeth Hagen

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

NEW YORK — Actor Ron Palillo, best known for his role in the popular Brooklyn-based series "Welcome Back, Kotter," reportedly died of a heart attack Tuesday morning in his Florida home. He was 63.

Palillo, who played "Horshack" in the show alongside John Travolta, was found by his partner of 41 years about 4 a.m. before being rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to reports.

For the last three years, Palillo had reportedly been teaching acting classes in Palm Springs, Fla. The smoker had been dealing with a bad cough and had a doctor's appointment Tuesday, TMZ.com reported.

Palillo played the beloved high school character from 1975 to 1979, also making appearances in "Laverne & Shirley" and acting in many Broadway plays. He was later the voice of the Disney cartoon "Darkwing Duck."

Kotter co-star Robert Hegyes, who acted alongside Palillo, also reportedly died earlier this year from a heart attack.