Fox News announced on Thursday afternoon that actor Robert Hegyes died from a suspected heart attack. The 60-year-old star was in his Metuchen home when he began suffering from chest pains on Thursday morning. The family called 911 and the “Welcome Back Kotter” star was taken to JFK Medical Center in Edison, N.J.
Although the news is very saddening for all the members of the family, the majority of them were prepared for a similar situation given the bad health condition of the actor. His brother, Mark Hegyes, told the press that Robert had suffered a heart attack several years ago. Unfortunately, the “Kotter” star was not able to completely recover since then and doctors were always concerned about his evolution.
Peter Loewy from Metuchen’s Forum Theater Arts Center insisted on paying tribute to the late actor. He declared in an interview that Hegyes was a gentle guy whose heart was, ironically, very big.
Hegyes became famous due to his role in the 1970s comedy “Welcome Back Kotter”. The late star was one of the directors of the series and the interpreter of the character Juan Epstein. Epstein was soon endeared by the viewers of the show due to his capacity of producing faked absence letters from “Epstein’s Mother” and “Epstein’s Mother’s Doctor”.
He also starred in “Cagney & Lacey, a seven season series broadcasted by CBS. Hagyes joined the cast of the police procedural at the beginning of the sixth season during which he played the part of Manny Esposito, a young and street-savvy detective.
Last year, Hegyes took part at the TV Land Awards where he walked on stage with many of his “Kotter” co-stars to receive a 35th Anniversary Award. Among the stars that were present at the ceremony was John Travolta who also played in the 1970s show.
Hegyes’ funeral will be held at Flynn & Son Funeral Home in Fords, New Jersey on Sunday. His two children and two step-children have organized all the details of the ceremony.