By Rosy Cordero
December 10, 2019 at 06:01 PM EST

Philip McKeon, the former child actor known for playing Tommy Hyatt on the 1970s and ’80s sitcom Alice, has died. McKeon, the elder brother of Facts of Life star Nancy McKeon, was 55.

Family spokesman Jeff Ballard confirmed the news to PEOPLE, saying McKeon died Tuesday morning in Texas after battling a longtime illness.

“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.”

CBS via Getty Images

McKeon began his career as a model at age 4, followed by roles in stage productions and films. He landed Alice after lead actress Linda Lavin saw him performing on Broadway, and the show ran from 1976 to 1985. McKeon’s other TV credits included CHiPs, Fantasy Island, and The Love Boat.

He took the director’s chair for the film Teresa’s Tattoo, starring his sister, in 1994. He also served as director and producer of 1995’s Murder in the First and 2000’s The Young Unknowns.

Nancy McKeon helped her brother celebrate his birthday last month, with an Instagram dedication and a photo of the pair.

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

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