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'Firefly,' 'Barney Miller' star Ron Glass dies at 71

Glass, who earned fans with his TV characters Shepherd Book and Detective Ron Harris, has died. Nathan Fillion, Joss Whedon and other co-stars pay tribute to him online.

Actor Ron Glass as Shepherd Book in Joss Whedon's sci-fi TV series "Firefly."
20th Century Fox Television

Actor Ron Glass -- who often played smart, sarcastic and stylish characters -- has died from respiratory failure at age 71, TMZ reports.

Glass is best known for his role as the spiritual and mysterious character Shepherd Book in Joss Whedon's sci-fi TV series "Firefly" and its movie sequel "Serenity."

Glass is also celebrated for his role as the dapper Detective Ron Harris on the popular '70s police sitcom "Barney Miller."

He played the sarcastic and intellectual detective opposite Hal Linden and Abe Vigoda. Glass earned his first and only Emmy nomination for the role in 1982.

More recently, Glass appeared on "Agents of SHIELD," "CSI" and "Major Crimes."

Fellow "Firefly" actors and creator Joss Whedon paid tribute online to their beloved co-star's passing.

"Ron Glass was one of the greatest actors to work with," "Firefly" co-star Alan Tudyk tweeted today. "His laugh was beyond infectious and his generosity was ever present."

"Ron Glass was also a sassy smart ass and I prize that very much," Tudyk continued. "A leaf on the wind."

"This is me acting like an idiot just so I could hear Ron Glass laugh," "Firefly" co-star Jewel Staite posted on Instagram. "He was the kind of person."