“RIP,” series star Jake Johnson wrote on Instagram. “So much fun to work with. He gave so much with literally no lines.
“I loved when he was on set,” Johnson continued. “I was always expecting to somehow work with him again. Condolences to his family [and] friends.” (Zooey Deschanel also acknowledged Ahn’s passing, commenting “Noooooo” alongside a crying face emoji.)
Ahn first appeared in the Season 2 episode “Menzies,” when Johnson’s Nick Miller befriended Tran at the park. After Nick bared his soul to Tran, the elderly man guided Nick to a nearby spa where the two of them convened in a hot tub and Tran proceeded to cradle Nick like a baby. Rewatch the classic scene below:
Ahn would go on to appear in six more episodes of New Girl, including the 2018 series finale. He spoke all of two lines during the run of the show, first when he referred to Nick as a “huge baby” in the above-mentioned hot tub scene, and again in the finale when he popped up in the back seat of “Fancy Man” Russell’s car and told him to “drive.”
During Season 4, Nick briefly dated Tran’s granddaughter Kai, who was played by The Morning Show‘s Greta Lee.
In addition to New Girl, Ahn’s credits included episodes of All-American Girl, The Division, ER, Gilmore Girls, The Golden Girls, The King of Queens, The Shield, Suddenly Susan and Walker, Texas Ranger.