LOS ANGELES (CBS) —  The Newark Star Ledger is reporting that “Welcome Back, Kotter” star Robert Hegyes is dead.

Hegyes, who played Juan Epstein on the 70’s sitcom,” died of an apparent heart attack in his New Jersey home. Hegyes was 60.

Hegyes also appeared as a guest star on a variety of TV shows including “Diagnosis Murder,” “The Drew Carey Show,” as well as a recurring role on the cop drama “Cagney & Lacey.”

Cousin of both Jon Bon Jovi and Mario Lanza, Hegyes hailed from Perth Amboy, New Jersey.

He is survived by six children, four from his relationship with Cynthia Wylie (1994-2007). Hegyes was married and divorced three times.

For many years, Hegyes lived in Venice, California and helped develop the Web series, “The Venice Walk.”

“Welcome Back, Kotter” ran from 1975-1979 and helped launch actor John Travolta’s movie career. The popular sitcom centered around teacher Gabe Kotter (comic Gabe Kaplan) returning to his old high school and working with a bunch of trouble makers known as the Sweathogs.

Hegyes would have been 61 in May.