Cher is among those paying their respects to actor Danny Aiello, who died Thursday night at the age of 86 after a sudden hospitalization. The global superstar, who starred alongside Aiello and Nicolas Cage in 1987's Moonstruck, took to social media to pay tribute to Aiello, who she called a "genius comedic actor."
"Goodbye Dear [Danny Aiello]," she began with a broken heart emoji. "Danny was a Great Actor, But a Genius Comedic Actor.We Laughed so much. Making [Moonstruck] ..It was one of the happiest times in my life,& He Was apart of that Happy time. Goodbye [Johnny Cammareri]."
She signed the message as her character, Loretta. In Moonstruck, Aiello played Johnny Cammareri, the man Loretta was set to marry — until she met his long-lost brother, Ronny Cammareri, played by Cage.
Cher took home the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in the drama, as did Olympia Dukakis for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. John Patrick Shanley also took home the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, and the film was nominated for six Oscars in total, as well as five Golden Globe Awards.
"He'll be so missed," another wrote with a few still photos of Aiello and Cher in the film.
"You guys made one of my favorite movies ever. Thank you, thank you," someone else said.
Aiello died Thursday night, his family told TMZ. His death was sudden and reportedly stemmed from an infection he suffered after being admitted to a medical facility for a sudden illness. He reportedly passed away shortly after his family left the facility after visiting with him Thursday.
While the actor is well known for his role in Moonstruck, he's perhaps most widely known for his role as pizzeria owner Sal in Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing — for which he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the 1990 Academy Awards. Madonna fans also remembered him for his role as the father in the music video for her 1986 hit "Papa Don't Preach."
Aiello is survived by his wife of nearly 65 years, Sandy, as well as children Rick, Jaime and Stacey Aiello. His son, Danny Aiello III, who was a stuntman and actor, died in 2010 of pancreatic cancer.
Photo credit: Photo credit: Jim Spellman / Contributor / Getty, John Phillips / Stringer / Getty