John Mahoney, who played Martin Crane in the hit US sitcom Frasier, has passed away at the age of 77. He died on Sunday while in hospice care in Chicago. Born in Blackpool, England, John was perhaps best known for playing the father of Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer) and Niles Crane (David Hyde Pierce) on the long-running show, which aired for 11 seasons, from 1993 until 2004. John won a SAG award for the role, and was also nominated for two Emmys and two Golden Globes.
The star moved to the States as a young man, and served three years in the US army. He only became a professional actor in his 40s, when he was invited to join the new Steppenwolf Theatre Company by John Malkovich and Gary Sinise. He remained a member for 39 years.
John Mahoney was best known for playing Martin Crane in the hit sitcom Frasier
The company announced on social media that John had passed away from "complications from cancer". A statement read: "John was a beloved member of our Steppenwolf family who was known for his extraordinary kindness, generosity of spirit and quick smile."
The Steppenwolf Theatre Company paid tribute to John on social media
Tributes have been pouring in for the star, with Gary Sinise – co-founder of Steppenwolf – saying he would remember "so many wonderful plays together over the years, a wonderful actor". Peri Gilpin, who played Roz Doyle in Frasier, told fans that John had sang at her wedding, and recalled some of his best-known performances: "Watch Moonstruck, Say Anything and/or Frasier or anything you can with him in it and raise a glass to John," she wrote. "Remember him well."
Frasier's casting director Jeff Greenberg tweeted: "I've not known a kinder man nor more brilliant actor. We were all blessed to have spent 11 glorious years together." John Cusack shared: "He always said - it took him a long time to find out what he loved - and he loved performing - he was so happy to be there - he made everyone around him better and happier each day - blessed to have known him." Scrubs star Zach Braff added: "I was so honoured to work with the legendary John Mahoney on The Broken Heart's Club. I was so nervous because Say Anything is one of my favourite films ever. He could not have been a kinder man. #RIPJohnMahoney."