Philip McKeon, Former 'Alice' Child Star, Dead at 55

Philip McKeon, the former child actor from the CBS show Alice, has passed away at the age of 55. Following a fight with a longtime illness, McKeon died on Tuesday morning. A family spokesperson shared a message with PEOPLE after the loss.

"We are all beyond heartbroken and devastated over Phil's passing," Jeff Ballard said in a statement. "His wonderful sense of humor, kindness and loyalty will be remembered by all who crossed his path in life."

McKeon rose to stardom with his role of Tommy Wyatt on Alice. The series ran on CBS from 1976 until 1985. Along with McKeon, the series starred Linda Lavin. The show was based on "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore" which was a 1974 film directed by Martin Scorsese.

A New York native, McKeon began his career on Broadway before being discovered and cast on Alice. While that show was his biggest hit, he also found himself appearing in various movies later on, including Sandman in 1993 and Ghoulies IV in 1994.

His father, Don, served as his manager. In an interview with PEOPLE, he shared how surprising his son's stardom was to him.

"If anyone had told me 10 years ago, when I was a travel agent in New York, that the kids would bring me to this, I would have laughed," Don McKeon once shared with People. Philip added, "My parents are pretty laid back, but if I said, 'Folks, I'm taking off for Vegas for a couple of days,' I think they might have something to say about it."

Fans of the show have begun sharing their thoughts and prayers with his family.

"So sorry to hear of his passing," one user wrote. "He had great chemistry with Linda Lavin and the whole cast of Alice. Thoughts and Prayers to his family and friends."


Another tweeted, "Oh so sorry to hear this! Grew up watching Alice. My condolences to his mother and his sister Nancy. Rest in peace Tommy."

In addition to his acting career, McKeon also went behind the camera a few times. He was the director for the film Teresa's Tattoo which starred his sister. Along with that, his other works included Murder in the First and The Young Unknowns. The latter came out in 2000.