'Modern Family' Fans Shocked and Emotional After Show Kills Major Character in Latest Episode

As the series finale grows closer, Modern Family has killed another major character off in its most recent episode. The long-running sitcom announced it was going off the air back in July, and since its 11th season has started, it hasn't been short on gut-wrenching moments. Now, fans are reacting to the latest tragic development.

Spoilers for the most recent episode of Modern Family to follow.

Last night's episode, "Legacy," saw the death of Frank Dunphy, played by beloved character actor Fred Willard. His death was off-screen but was referred to when his son, Phil (Ty Burell), was shown giving a eulogy at a memorial service in Frank's memory. After the heartfelt tribute, fans took to Twitter to voice their own thoughts.

"This season has just got better and better," wrote one fan. "Wow, last nights' episode made us cry with laughter and with sadness. Brilliant." A second admitted the episode had her crying before asking, "Why do tv shows do this to me?" Meanwhile, a third tweeted simply, "my heart hurts."

Another fan compared the series to MASH, a long-running Korean-war set sitcom. "Last night’s episode shows that no matter how old (or long-running) something gets, it can still be great when it (wants) needs to be. Almost reminds me of an occasional funny yet meaningful MASH [episode]."

Fans weren't the only ones broken up about the death of Frank. Sarah Hyland, who plays Frank's on-screen granddaughter, spoke about his death in an Instagram story, as well as the unusual way she found out about it.

"So, I don't read scripts of episodes of Modern Family that I'm not in, so I just found out that my grandpa's dead along with all of you," Hyland said, adding, "I still feel special." She also admitted that she was a little carefree about possible spoilers to her seven-million-plus followers.

"I guess I should've put a spoiler alert for Grandpa Frank dying, but I was just caught off guard. Like, as his granddaughter, you think I'd be invited to his funeral," she continued. "If it's any consolation to those who are angry about the spoiler alert, karma hit real fast and Boo just farted in my face and the smell was so bad she had to get off the bed because she couldn't handle the heat."


Earlier this season, series regular DeDe Pritchett (Shelley Long) passed away in her sleep.

Modern Family airs every Wednesday night on ABC.