11:52 PM EDT 10/16/2013

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Ron Palillo

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Welcome Back, Kotter Actor Dies at 63

Welcome Back, Kotter Actor Ron Palillo Dies

Originally posted 08/14/2012 01:15PM

Ron Palillo, the boyish actor who played Arnold Horshack, the remedial-class loser on Welcome Back, Kotter, died Tuesday morning at his home near Palm Beach, Fla., TMZ reports. He was 63.

He suffered an apparent heart attack and was found by his longtime companion, Joseph Gramm, according to the report. Rushed to the hospital, Palillo, a heavy smoker, was pronounced dead upon arrival.

According to a 1977 PEOPLE profile, Palillo's most-famous role cast him against type – he had been an overachiever from his childhood in Cheshire, Conn.

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