Heath Freeman, Bones and NCIS Actor, Dies at 41

Heath Freeman, star of the Fox series Bones and CBS's NCIS, passed away suddenly at the age of 41. A cause of death has not been announced, but former Miss USA and Pacific Blue star Shanna Moakler revealed on Sunday that Freeman died in his sleep. The news was later confirmed by Freeman's manager to EW. Moakler shared a throwback photo of herself with Freeman on her Instagram account, where she stated how she's "heartbroken" after learning how her friend has passed away.

"Heartbroken to hear of the loss of my dear friend Heath Freeman, talented actor, director, producer, outstanding chef and a solid friend. You will be so dearly missed and I will cherish every amazing memory we all had.... and we have a lot of great ones!! Godspeed," she wrote on Instagram.

Other celebrities who knew Freeman also shared their condolences, including director Ariel Vromen and Ashley Benson (Pretty Little Liars). "So sad," Vromen replied to Moakler's Instagram post. "I'll love you forever @heathmonster RIP," Benson shared in an Instagram Story.

Freeman starred as the serial killer Howard Epps on the first two seasons of Bones. Along with getting his acting debut on ER, some of his other credits include NCISThe CloserWithout a Trace, and Raising the Bar. He was also a co-star and co-writer of 2011's indie film Skateland.

The late actor talked to DailyActor.com in 2011 about his involvement in Skateland, and what it's like to be replaced on a hit show.

"I got the lead, I was the lead in a TV series, and then… and I got replaced," Freeman said. "A new head of the network came in two weeks before I was supposed to go shoot and replaced me for no reason. And so I was pretty upset about that. I called my brother, my brother Brandon, we've always wanted to do movies together and write together and we had some ideas floating around. He was like, 'Well let's do a movie. I mean what are you doing in LA? Why do you wanna do other people's stuff, people's material? Let's start a project.' I was like, 'Ah, ok, it's that easy?'"

Freeman added, "I've always wanted to write about this roller rink, kinda center something around this roller rink that we all grew up in Longview, Texas, which is kinda this, I mean it's a lot nicer in this film, but in all actuality it was a pretty run down place, pretty bad, pretty nasty. And so, that's kinda how it started."

Cover photo by Chelsea Lauren/WireImage via Getty