ER and West Wing star John Aylward dies amid declining health, wife confirms

US actor John Aylward, known for starring in series like ER and The West Wing, has died aged 75, his wife has confirmed.

He passed away on Monday, May 16.

The actor was suffering from declining health, his wife Mary Fields told Deadline, with his long-time agent Mitchell K. Stubbs admitting to the publication that he was “shocked” to hear the news.

He said: “He was a wonderful actor and a phenomenal human being.

“He was a dream client, a friend and a dream person.”

John was best known for his portrayal of Dr Donald Anspaugh in ER from 1996 until 2008, and Barry Goodwin on The West Wing from 2005 until 2006.

He also appeared in the 1998 flick Armageddon and the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III in 1993.

The actor had also starred in everything from Mad Men to American Horror Story; his last role came as Freddie Laffter in TV show Briarpatch, from 2019 until 2020.

John’s talent agency MKS Talent Agency has also paid tribute to the late star, writing on Twitter: “Received a devastating call from Mary Fields, John Aylward’s wife.

“This kind man and wonderful actor has left us. Very grateful to have known and worked with you, sir. RIP.”

Fans have also been mourning the late star online, with one Twitter user writing: “RIP John Aylward. I always liked seeing him pop up as Doctor Anspaugh in #ER.”

“I have no words in this moment. We lost a great actor today, the big chief from the #CountyGeneral. #RIPJohnAylward,” someone else posted.

A third then tweeted: “We lost a beloved member of our family this week, with the passing of company member John Aylward.

“An accomplished and widely respected actor, John left an indelible mark on the theater community and on everyone he worked with over his long career. John, we will miss you dearly.”

Born in Seattle, Washington, John went on to graduate from the Professional Actor’s Training Program at the University of Washington in 1970, before going on to found Seattle’s Empty Space Theater three years later.

After working in the theatre for 15 years, he was spotted by Carol Flynt, ER’s co-producer, who offered him an audition after spotting him on stage in Psychopathia Sexualis in Los Angeles.

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