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'Laverne & Shirley' star Eddie Mekka dies at 69

Mekka portrayed Shirley Feeney's boyfriend, "The Big Ragu" on the "Happy Days" spinoff and would often break out into song.

WASHINGTON — Actor Eddie Mekka, best known for playing Carmine "The Big Ragu" Ragusa on the ABC sitcom "Laverne & Shirley," has died at the age of 69. 

A post on Mekka's professional Facebook page confirmed his passing and stated that the actor died Saturday, Nov. 27, in his Newhall, California home.

His brother, Warren Mekjian, told TMZ that Mekka had recently been hospitalized for blood clots and could barely walk. A cause of death has not been announced. 

From 1976-1983, Mekka played Shirley Feeney's boyfriend on the "Happy Days" spinoff that starred Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams. His character would often break out into song on the show.

In 1975, he appeared in "The Lieutenant" on Broadway and earned a Tony nomination for best actor in a musical

The veteran actor had dozens of TV and film credits, including appearances on "The Love Boat," "Fantasy Island," "Family Matters," "The Bold and the Beautiful," "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" and "The Young and the Restless." 

Credit: Via AP
"Laverne & Shirley" reunion cast: Eddie Mekka, Cindy Williams, David L. Lander, Penny Marshall, Michael McKean and Garry Marshall (l-r)
Credit: AP Photo
Eddie Mekka attends the Hollywood Unites for Haiti Charity Celebration, Saturday, Aug 8, 2009 in Los Angeles.(AP Photo/Shea Walsh)