Nancy McKeon and Philip McKeon leaned on each other after the death of their father

By Jodi Guglielmi
December 11, 2019 09:45 AM
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Nancy McKeon expressed her gratitude for her brother Philip McKeon just weeks before his death.

The Facts of Life actress shared a touching 55th birthday tribute to Philip on Nov. 11 while reflecting on the death of their father.

“A huge happy birthday to my big brother!!” she wrote. “It’s been a tough time lately… but as we’ve always said…we’ll get through it together…love you Dude….and as always… our humble thanks to all our veterans.”

Nancy and Philip’s father, Donald McKeon, died in October.

Along with the sweet message, Nancy also shared a throwback photo of herself with her older brother.

Philip died Tuesday in Texas after battling a longtime illness, family spokesman Jeff Ballard confirmed to PEOPLE. He was 55.

“We are all beyond heartbroken and devastated over Phil’s passing,” Ballard said in a statement. “His wonderful sense of humor, kindness and loyalty will be remembered by all who crossed his path in life.”

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Philip is best known for his role as Tommy Hyatt on Alice, in which he starred opposite Linda Lavin from 1976-1985. The CBS sitcom was based on Martin Scorsese’s 1974 rom-com Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, in which Alfred Lutter played the titular character Alice Hyatt’s son Tommy. However, Philip replaced Lutter after the pilot.

Following his role on the sitcom, he worked at Los Angeles station KFWB News 98 in its news department for 10 years before later moving to Wimberly, Texas, where he hosted his own radio show and relocated to be closer to family.

Philip is survived by Nancy and his mother, Barbara.