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Tom Towles, a character actor best-known for his work in indie-horror flicks, has died. He was 71 years old.
His agent confirmed his passing to E! News Monday, noting that he was transported to a Florida hospital in Pinellas March 29 after suffering a stroke. Per Towles' agent, he passed away peacefully on Thursday and is survived by his sister Kai Towles and niece Laine Taylor.
It was actually Rob Zombie, who featured Towles in a number of his movies, who first shared the sad news in a Facebook post Sunday.
"I just got word that our buddy Tom Towles has died," he wrote. "He was such a great guy and I am so grateful that we got to work together several times. He will be really missed."
Towles worked with Zombie on House of 1000 Corpses (2003), The Devil's Rejects (2005), Halloween (2007) and in a segment of Grindhouse (2007). His other horror credits include a remake of The Pit and the Pendulum (1991), The Borrower (1991), Home Sick (2007) and Blood on the Highway (2008).
Perhaps his most memorable role was in the 1986 horror film Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. Towles' character was loosely based on Ottis Toole, who was convicted in the 1981 murder of John Walsh's son Adam. (After his son's gruesome killing, Walsh became the host of America's Most Wanted.)
Throughout the '90s, Towles had multiple bit roles on TV shows, including Seinfeld, ER, Star Trek: Voyager and 3rd Rock from the Sun. From 1993 to 1994, he had a recurring role on NYPD Blue.
Zombie's remarks about Towles' passing made it clear he was fond of him—a sentiment all those who worked with him seemed to share. TnT Talent Management, who represented Towles, posted a tribute to the late actor on their site. It read: "It is with a very heavy heart that I write this. TnT has lost a family member. Tom was not just a client to us but great friend as well. He will always be remembered for his contagious smile and outstanding love for his friends and fans. Few knew the soft hearted man that lived inside that tough exterior."
"We are proud and honored to have known him," the statement continued. "We are lucky to have enjoyed his company and we are better people because of him. He would not want us to mourn his death but to celebrate his life instead. So with these final words, we bid him farewell."
Per Towles, rep, a private memorial service is being planned for a later date.
His rep also asked his fans for a favor. "On April 2, 2015, our dear friend Tom Towels passed away leaving behind his family, friends, thousands of fans and two short haired tabby cats; 9-year-old Jack and 4-year-old Lenny. Tom's family is unable to take the cats due to severe allergies and are asking for help in rehoming them. They would prefer that the boys stay together as they are a bonded pair. At this time, the cats are still in Florida and can be adopted locally or out of state if transport is arranged for them. Everyone involved would like to see them in a permanent home rather than having to go a shelter," the rep said in a statement to E! News. "Anyone interested in adopting them can email firstname.lastname@example.org for an application. We will be going through them personally to make sure they go to a great home."
—Reporting by Lindsay Good
(Originally published at April 6, 2015 at 8:28 a.m. PT)