Teletubbies actor Simon Shelton Barnes has died after he collapsed near his home in Liverpool, England. The incident occurred just four days after the actor’s 52nd birthday.

SIMON SHELTON BARNES, TELETUBBIES ACTOR, DIES AT 52

While the cause of death has not been released, a neighbor who witnessed the fall told the Daily Mirror that he believes he died of hypothermia. Barnes trained in ballet and choreography before he took on the role of Tinky Winky, the purple Teletubby, between 1998 and 2001.

Barnes’ co-star, John Simmit, who played the green Teletubby Dipsy, paid tribute on Twitter. “What a week! RIP Simon Shelton aka Tinky Winky: remembering the many good times. Rest easy,” he said alongside a photo of the four main actors from the show.

Barnes’ niece, actress Emily Atack, best known for playing Charlotte on The Inbetweeners, also paid tribute to her uncle. “My wonderful uncle Simon Barnes has been taken from us all so suddenly,” she wrote on Instagram. “The kindest and most talented man you could ever wish to meet. Loved by all who knew him, and will be forever. X.”

The Teletubbies first aired in the U.K. in March of 1997 and became an unprecedented big hit. Barnes’ said in a 2008 interview with the BBC that he had no idea that Teletubbies would blow up like it did: “I didn’t know it would be as big as it was, but I did know as soon as I started working on it that it had something special.”

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