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Man who played “Juan Epstein” dies at age 60

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Robert Hegyes (photo courtesy of

(CNN) — Robert Hegyes known for his role as Juan Epstein on the ’70s sitcom “Welcome Back, Kotter,” died on Thursday. He was 60.

Hegyes was transported via ambulance from his home in Metuchen, New Jersey, Thursday morning, and was in full cardiac arrest by the time he reached the hospital, Steven Weiss, a spokesman for the JFK Medical Center in Edison, New Jersey, confirmed to CNN.

“He was pronounced dead shortly after he arrived there,” Weiss said.

Hegyes’ brother, Mark Hegyes, told The Star-Ledger that the actor had suffered a heart attack a couple of years ago and was not in good health.

The “Welcome Back, Kotter” cast reunited in April 2011 when they attended the 9th Annual TV Land Awards in New York City.

In addition to acting as John Travolta’s fellow Sweathog on “Kotter,” Hegyes starred as Det. Manny Esposito on “Cagney & Lacey” in the late 1980s.

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