John Spencer, star of stage and screen, died of a heart attack on Friday morning at Olympia Medical Centre in LA; the award-winning actor was 58 years old.
Spencer is best known for his outstanding portrayal of White House Chief of Staff Leo McGarry in NBC's The West Wing but was also a seasoned motion picture star, with over 20 films to his credit - movies ranging from Nicolas Cage actioner The Rock to Sylvester Stallone’s brooding drama Cop Land.
Makers of The West Wing, NBC and Warner Bros, released the following statement to the press:
"We are deeply saddened by the loss of our dear friend John Spencer. John was a remarkable man with enormous talent and beloved by everyone who had the privilege of working with him on The West Wing. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends in this most difficult time. He will be greatly missed."
Executive producer John Wells added: "John was a wonderful actor, a pleasure to work with and a true gentleman, but most importantly, a generous and gracious friend. He will be missed by everyone who ever had the great fortune to know him."
TV buffs may recall Spencer’s much-loved turn as Tom Mullaney in legal drama LA Law but it was The West Wing and the uncompromising yet warm McGarry that gave Spencer the notoriety he deserved.
John was rewarded for his seminal role in the White House drama in 2002, receiving an Emmy award for best actor; a category he was nominated in no less than 5 times for the role.