The Only Fools and Horses star John Challis had previously baffled fans with his unlikely friendship with a US rap legend.
Ice-T, aka Tracy Marrow has now paid respects to his friend after the news of his passing.
He tweeted on Sunday afternoon: “I just heard John passed away.. He somehow became a Twitter friend.. I’m very sad.
“Although I never met him in person.. Internet friends can become close.. RIP”
Ice-T included a tweet from March this year, which included a video of John enthusiastically playing air drums to the album that Ice-T released a year previously with Body Count, his heavy metal band.
John had previously showed off Body Count-themed Christmas cards he’d received from his American friend.
Fans responded to Ice-T, with one writing: “Your recognition of John is appreciated by us who noticed the online friendship and found it so endearing.
“Two legends from different worlds that shaped my musical and comedic tastes, so thanks to you both & I feel your sadness today. Rest in peace Boycie.
Another said: “One of the best things to ever come out of Twitter was your friendship with John. Sorry for your loss”
While a third fan said: “I loved the fact that you two became friends and know he was hoping to get out to New York to see you next year, it’s so so sad, he will be missed by so many”
Fans were flabbergasted in 2019 as the stars from different worlds swapped Christmas greetings, with John raising a glass to the Body Count star, 63.
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Referring to Ice T’s wife and now five-year-old daughter, John posted a snap of himself on Twitter: “Merry Christmas to you, Coco and Chanel.”
The SVU actor and rapper replied: “Merry Christmas John!”
Ice-T began his career as an underground rapper in the 1980s and was signed to Sire Records in 1987, when he released his debut album Rhyme Pays.
He co-founded heavy metal group Body Count with his brother, who he released on his 1981 album O.G.: The Original Gangster, the song Body Count.
He later found fame on TV in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
When a Twitter user initially wrote: “How the f**k does Ice T know Boycie??”, the musician replied, “Because I live on Earth.”