Sadly, the star with Cork city roots, most famous for his role Frasier’s father Martin, in the TV sitcom, passed away after a short hospitalization.

The veteran actor of screen and stage, John Mahoney, has died in his adopted hometown of Chicago, at the age of 77. According to his publicist, Paul Martino, the star passed away on Sunday after a brief hospitalization.

Mahoney was born to an Irish family in Blackpool, Lancashire, in England, and emigrated to the United States at the age of 19, joining his sister there. He worked as an English teacher and Editor of a medical magazine before pursuing his career as an actor in his late thirties.

And what a career it was! Mahoney mastered both the silver screen and stage. The awards he garnered over the years included a Tony Award in 1986 for "The House of Blue Leaves" and a Screen Actors Guild Award for his role as Martin Crane in Frasier, in 2000. This was the role he was most famous for and played the loveable curmudgeon father of Frasier from 1993 to 2004.

Farewell to John Mahoney, who has sadly passed away, aged 77.
Goodnight Seattle, and thanks for all the laughs. pic.twitter.com/nykbU9JASh

— Channel 4 (@Channel4) February 6, 2018

"A great friend of Galway"

Throughout his career, Mahoney often visited Galway and took to the stage at the Galway International Arts Festival including a production of Eugene O'Neill's “Long Day's Journey Into Night” and Bruce Graham's “The Outgoing Tide”.

Speaking to RTE’s radio show Paul Fahy, Artistic Director with the Galway International Arts Festival, paid tribute to Mahoney, a great friend of Galway.

"He was such a lovely, sweet man.

"He adored Chicago - it had become his hometown - but he had been coming to Galway since 2001 when he first came to the festival, playing James Tyrone in Long Day's Journey Into Night... He loved Galway City and he loved Connemara. He often came back privately for holidays, especially in the wintertime." 

"He was such a sweet man and remained true to the theater" Galway Arts Festival's Paul Fahy pays tribute to Frasier star John Mahoney as the actor was a regular at the event https://t.co/SSSAhtGgZi pic.twitter.com/mlThbqAZ0I

— Morning Ireland (@morningireland) February 6, 2018

A feeling of deep connection

Mahoney born in World War II England, in 1940. His family was evacuated from Blackpool to Manchester and soon the teenage Mahoney was sent to the United States to join his sister, Vera, a GI bride who sponsored his move.

In 2015 Mahoney spoke to the Galway Advertiser about his Irish connection and how it was not until much later that he formed a true connection with Ireland.

“My great-grandfather was born Michael O’Mahoney in Cork city and his son moved to England… I can’t say I was raised in an Irish household, I never particularly felt Irish until I went to Ireland. After I had been in the United States for a while I went on vacation there with actress Joan Allen.

“I remember flying into Dublin, seeing a show in the Abbey, driving across to Galway and then spending nearly a month driving all over Ireland and by the time that month was over I felt totally, utterly, Irish and have ever since. That’s why I go there at least once every two years, I’ve been over at least 20 times.”

The actor had many Irish connections and was a regular at the Galway International Arts Festival since 2002. In 2014 Mahoney spoke to the Irish Independent about his upcoming role in “Chapatti”, a play by Irish playwright, Christian O'Reilly, set in Dublin.

Nervous about his Irish accent he said “I'll admit I am very nervous about it… I have never done an Irish accent in Ireland, only in the United States, where you can get away with a lot more. If my accent isn't right, though, Gabriel Byrne is to blame. I acted with him in In Treatment and, on the very first day, he told me he'd heard I was making a Hugh Leonard play and he offered to record a few pages of the text for me to hear how it should sound, so it's his Dublin accent I will be attempting."

Back in 2014 Mahoney also spoke about his gra / love for Galway and why he kept coming back.

He said "I just keep coming to Galway. It all started in 2002 when I was doing Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night with the Irish Rep Company in Chicago. We were invited to bring it to the Galway Arts Festival, and performing it there was one of the highlights of my career, genuinely.

"I met Paul (Fahy, now the artistic director of the festival) the first time I came over and we struck up a friendship that goes beyond the theatre. I'm not just saying this to blow smoke up you, but my two favorite places in the world are Galway and Chicago."

Apart from his famed role in “Frasier” Mahoney stared in “Hot in Cleveland”, “In Treatment”, “ER”, and “Cheers”. He also made a starred in many movies such as “Tin Men”, “Suspect”, “Moonstruck”, “Eight Men Out”, “Say Anything”, “Barton Fink” and “The Hudsucker Proxy”.

Unsurprisingly tributes have been pouring in for the late great John Mahoney. Here are just some highlights:

John Mahoney, R.I.P pic.twitter.com/vJWdGWkQCL

— RVA Coffee Stain (@RVACoffeeStain) February 6, 2018

We are so sad to hear of the death of our dear friend John Mahoney. He performed so many memorable roles at the Festival and often holidayed in Galway. A truly brilliant actor. What a wonderful, sweet and gentle man he was. We loved him dearly. @NorthlightThtr @SteppenwolfThtr pic.twitter.com/062DVDYhrl

— Galway Int Arts Fest (@GalwayIntArts) February 6, 2018

Here's to you, John Mahoney! You make the unforgettable look easy. @johncusack, @ioneskye1, @canyonjim pic.twitter.com/jB1PTQmUaQ

— Cameron Crowe (@CameronCrowe) February 6, 2018

It is with our deepest sorrow that we share the news that ensemble member of 39 years John Mahoney passed away. Tonight’s opening night performance of You Got Older has been cancelled. We are instead inviting all to gather in Front Bar this evening. All are welcome to join us. pic.twitter.com/k8yrrR7ICA

— Steppenwolf Theatre (@SteppenwolfThtr) February 6, 2018

John Mahoney has moved on. A Great actor. Incredible wicked sense of humor. And someone who made a huge difference in my life and many others. #RIPJohnMahoney #respect https://t.co/SHNHtff6QJ

— Ben Stiller (@RedHourBen) February 6, 2018

John Mahoney (RIP) as Martin Crane, in "Fraser".NBC