John Mahoney Remembered by His ‘Frasier’ Co-Star Jane Leeves: ‘The Dearest Sweetest Man I Have Ever Known’

“And his smile. Oh my god. He was lit from within,” actress says

“Frasier” star John Mahoney, who died Sunday at age 77, was remembered Monday by his co-star Jane Leeves as “the dearest sweetest man I have ever known.”

In a statement to TheWrap, Leeves, who played Daphne Moon on the NBC sitcom, said, “John was the dearest sweetest man I have ever known.”

The actress, who later reunited with Mahoney on the TVLand series “Hot in Cleveland,” added, “His wicked sense of humor, usually whispered in your ear or spoken just loud enough that only you could hear could bring you to tears. And his smile. Oh my god. He was lit from within.”

“How lucky I am to have had him in my life,” Leeves concluded. “I loved him so much and will miss him so terribly.”

Mahoney’s publicist confirmed the actor’s death to TheWrap on Monday, saying, “I am sad to confirm the Sunday, February 4th death of actor John Mahoney after a short illness in Chicago, Illinois. The family will issue a statement at a later date.”

Mahoney, who played cranky family patriarch Martin Crane on “Frasier,” was twice nominated for an Emmy award, and was also nominated for two Golden Globe awards. He portrayed the role from 1993 until the series’ end in 2004.

Mahoney’s big-screen roles included “Moonstruck” and “Tin Men,” both released in 1987, and “Say Anything,” released in 1989.