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Ron Palillo, who played Horshack on "Welcome Back, Kotter," dies at age 63

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- Ron Palillo, best known as mouthy classroom goofball Arnold Horshack on the 1970s TV series Welcome Back, Kotter, died at his Palm Beach Gardens home early this morning, according to Stacy Sacco, Palillo’s friend.

Sacco said Palillo passed away suddenly at 4:30 a.m.

He was 63.

“He just couldn’t have been more fun and intelligent or talented. He was an amazing human being,” said Sacco of Palm Beach Gardens, who met Palillo 20 years ago when he was a guest on Ellen DeGeneres’ sitcom in Los Angeles, on which Sacco was a script supervisor.

“I had been a fan. We all knew who he was. He was a shining star,” Sacco said.

Palillo had been teaching acting classes at G-Star School of the Arts, a charter school in Palm Springs, for about three years.

Sacco said that no cause of death has been determined, but that Palillo had not been ill or in the hospital. Palillo was a Connecticut native who lived in New York for about 40 years before teaching at G-Star.

Born April 2, 1949 in Cheshire, Conn., Palillo is survived by his partner of 41 years, Joseph Gramm, a retired actor.

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