In an Instagram story, Duhamel — fighting back tears — shared, “I just want to take a minute to remember Jimmy Caan: one of the kindest, coolest, funniest people I’ve ever met, one of my mentors. And you’ll be missed, Jimmy Caan. I love you.” (Watch the video here.)
Las Vegas, which ended its five-season run on NBC in 2008, marked Caan’s first starring role in a TV series. The drama largely focused on the relationship between Caan’s casino boss Ed Deline and his apprentice Danny McCoy (played by Duhamel).
Caan’s official Twitter account announced the news of his death on Thursday: “It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of Jimmy on the evening of July 6. The family appreciates the outpouring of love and heartfelt condolences and asks that you continue to respect their privacy during this difficult time.”
With a career that spanned seven decades, Caan started out with TV roles on The Untouchables, Naked City and Route 66 in the 1960s. He also starred opposite Billy Dee Williams as doomed football player Brian Piccolo in the 1971 TV movie Brian’s Song, earning an Emmy nomination. His most famous role came a year later, when he played hotheaded gangster Sonny Corleone in the Oscar-winning classic The Godfather.