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Eddie Mekka, star of the ABC sitcom Laverne and Shirley has died, aged 69.
Mekka, who played Carmine “The Big Ragu Ragusa” on the series, died at his home in Newhall, California last weekend.
The news was given to TMZ by his brother Warren Mekjian, who said Mekka died on 27 November.
Mekjian told TMZ that Mekka had been treated for blood clots in hospital recently although no cause of death has yet been revealed.
TMZ reports that police were called to Mekka’s home after neighbours and friends hadn’t heard from him for a few days.
The news was also confirmed in a Facebook post from a friend who wrote: “Eddie passed away peacefully in his Newhall, California home on Saturday, November 27, 2021. He was 69 years old.
“At this time, we do ask that all media inquiries be withheld during his family’s time of grief and mourning. We welcome you to share your memories of Eddie and your condolences to his family on his fan page. Rest In Peace Eddie. We had some fun.”
Born in Massachusetts, Mekka began his career on Broadway in 1975 in The Lieutenant. He earned a Tony Award nomination in 1975 for best actor in a musical after his debut.
He then moved to Los Angeles where he was cast in Laverne and Shirley, where he played Shirley’s (Cindy Williams) high-school sweetheart and on-off love interest.
Paying tribute on Twitter, Williams wrote: “My darling Eddie, A world-class talent who could do it all. I love you dearly. I’ll miss you so much. But oh the marvellous memories...,” alongside a video of him on the show.
— Cindy Williams (@Cindy_Williams1) December 2, 2021
Mekka went on to star in shows including Blanksy’s Beauties as well as Family Matters, Fantasy Island, and Happy Days.
His film credits include the musical drama Dreamgirls, Top of the World and Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star.