The man who played Tinky Winky just died, and people are mourning

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Simon Shelton Barnes, an actor and trained ballet dancer who played Tinky Winky on “Teletubbies,” has died at the age of 52.

The Daily Mail reports that Barnes died last Wednesday. While he was not the original Tinky Winky on “Teletubbies,” Barnes played the character from 1998 to 2001.

Barnes’ niece, “Inbetweeners” star Emily Atack, shared a tribute to her uncle on Instagram on Jan. 19.

“My wonderful uncle Simon Barnes has been taken from us all so suddenly. The kindest and most talented man you could ever wish to meet. Loved by all who knew him, and will be forever. X,” she wrote alongside a photo of Barnes.

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Barnes also appeared on BBC children’s game show “Incredible Games” in 1994 and 1995.

His family has asked mourners to wear “bright colors” in his honor at his funeral, which is scheduled for Feb. 7.

In a segment for “TODAY,” Shelton opened up about playing Tinky Winky, who was accused of being gay by Rev. Jerry Falwell because he always carried a purse.

“I found it amusing and quite staggering, because I just thought, ‘Is this for real?'” he said. “I didn’t know who he was, so I thought maybe this is someone who is trying to become famous.”

Rest in peace.

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