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West Wing's John Spencer Dies

John Spencer, longtime co-star on NBC’s The West Wing, died of a heart attack Friday in Los Angeles. Spencer has played the part of Leo McGarry, first the presidential chief of staff and now a vice presidential candidate, since the show’s first season.

Spencer, who won an Emmy Award in 2002 for his work on the show, was 58.

"John was a wonderful actor, a pleasure to work with and a true gentleman, but most importantly, a generous and gracious friend," said West Wing executive producer John Wells in a statement. "He will be missed by everyone who ever had the great fortune to know him."

Ironically, Spencer’s character on the show, Leo McGarry, had suffered a heart attack, with his health a plot element as he ran for VP with Matt Santos (Jimmy Smits).

Spencer first became a familiar TV face on NBC drama L.A. Law, where he played Tommy Mullaney in the early 1990s.