Danny Aiello, the veteran American character actor whose films included Do the Right Thing and Moonstruck, has died after a short illness. He was 86. 

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Celebrity website TMZ says Aiello passed away from an infection while being treated for an illness in a New Jersey hospital.

In a screen career spanning over 45 years, Aiello's other credits included The Godfather: Part II, Once Upon a Time in America, Ruby, Léon and Madonna's Papa Don't Preach video. He had a number of films in pre- and post-production at the time of his passing.

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He was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar and Golden Globe for his performance as pizzeria owner Sal in Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing. The director called Aiello his "brother" and said he was heartbroken at the news of his passing.

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Paying tribute, his Moonstruck co-star Cher described Aiello as "a genius comedic actor". 

"We laughed so much," Cher wrote on Twitter. "Making #Moonstruck... It was one of the happiest times in my life."

Aiello is survived by his wife and four children.