Fans are mourning the loss of yet another Hollywood icon, as this year comes to a close that has taken more beloved entertainers than most. Alan Thicke, best known for starring on the hit 1980s sitcom Growing Pains, has passed away at the age of 69. Early reports claim that the actor suffered a heart attack while playing hockey in Burbank, California with his 19-year-old son, Carter.
TMZ reports that the late actor regularly played hockey at a skating rink in Burbank, California. The site says that, around 11 AM, he started having chest pains and became nauseous before vomiting on the ice. An ambulance picked him up at approximately 11:30 AM where he was transported to Providence St. Joseph's Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead around 12 PM. Law enforcement official also revealed that a company which recovers organs from the deceased was contacted, so his organs could be donated.
Alan Thicke was born Alan Willis Jeffrey on March 1, 1947 in Kirkland Lake, Ontario, Canada, and he graduated from Elliot Lake High School in 1965, and he was also elected Homecoming King. He attended the University of Western Ontario, where he became a member of the Delta Epsilon fraternity. The late actor got his start in show business by writing for shows such as Fernwood Tonight, The Paul Lynde Show, The Bobby Derin Show, America 2-Nite and The Bobby Vynton Show. He also had a successful career composing TV theme songs, including the themes for hit 1980s sitcomes Diff'rent Strokes and The Facts of Life, along with the original theme song to Wheel of Fortune.
He is best known for his work in front of the camera, though, with his acting breakthrough coming in 1985 with the hit sitcom Growing Pains. Alan Thicke played Dr. Jason Seaver, the patriarch of a Long Island, New York family, who worked at home as a psychiatrist, with Joanna Kerns playing his wife Maggie, a journalist. The show ran for seven seasons between 1985 and 1992, launching the careers of the Seaver children, Kirk Cameron, Tracey Gold, Jeremy Miller, and Ashley Johnson. The show also provided an early showcase for eventual Oscar winner Leonardo DiCaprio, in the role of a troubled kid who the Seavers take under their wing.
After Growing Pains went off the air in 1992, he returned as Jason Seaver in the 2004 TV movie Growing Pains: Return of the Seavers. Alan Thicke also starred in Hope & Gloria and films such as Alpha Dog, The Goods and Hemingway. Most recently, he guest-starred on the pilot episode of NBC's This Is Us, Fox's Scream Queens and Fuller House. The actor's sudden death quickly became a trending topic on Twitter, with a umber of stars from the Hollywood community and beyond, paying their respects. The actor is survived by his three sons, singer Robin Thicke, Brennan Thicke and Carter Thicke, along with his wife, Tanya. Take a look at the tributes to Alan Thicke that have started pouring in after news of his death first broke.