Oscar-nominated actor Michael Clarke Duncan dies at 54 - FOX 32 News Chicago

Duncan's daughter regrets not fixing things with late actor: EXCLUSIVE

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Academy Award nominee Michael Clarke Duncan was born and raised in Chicago.

His upbringing on the South Side helped mold him into a resilient actor and beloved friend to many.

Condolences filled the home pages of Duncan's alma maters.  "The Green Mile" star played basketball at Kankakee Community College after attending King High School on the South Side.

Duncan was also a member of the braves basketball team at Alcorn State University.

During his high school years, Duncan was at the Sue Duncan Children's Center, an after school program, in North Kenwood, every day.

She remembers that he enjoyed playing basketball with her son Arne Duncan, now the U.S. Secretary of Education.

FOX Chicago News spoke with Secretary Duncan's mother, Sue, who watched him grow up through his teens and into adulthood.

She says his values, integrity, and hard work got him to Hollywood.

"He was gentle," Duncan said. "He was a gentle giant."

The 54-year-old actor stayed in touch with Sue and Secretary Duncan over the years and never failed to call her on Mother's Day.

"Michael had a wonderful, wonder sense of humor…wonderfully kind," Duncan said. "If he was my child couldn't ask for anything better."

Duncan died at a Los Angeles hospital where he had been since suffering a heart attack seven weeks ago.

Most recently Duncan starred in the FOX TV series "The Finder," but the towering 6' 5,'' 300 pound actor was best known for his unforgettable performance as a gentle inmate on death row in "The Green Mile" in 1999, and was nominated for an academy award.

"Even after he found fame and fortune, success, and an Oscar nomination, and all that, he always loved Chicago. He came back here quite frequently and was very proud of his roots,"  FOX Entertainment Reporter Bill Zwecker said.

His roots included working as a ditch digger for People's Gas in Chicago and working as a bouncer at various Chicago clubs.

In 1999, the Hollywood star visited his alma mater, King High School, to encourage the students to stay in school.

Duncan also grew up as a huge fan of the Chicago White Sox.

The team's General Manager, Kenny Williams released this statement saying, "Michael was a close friend. He was the nicest, kindest guy anyone could ever know. He was a great fan of the Chicago White Sox and often called me to offer advice. His friendship will be missed."

FOX Chicago spoke exclusively with Duncan's daughter, 32-year-old Marquea Ambrose, who lives in Chicago.

She said she hadn't talked to her father in eleven years, and regrets they didn't fix things between them.

"The only thing that really bothers me about him passing is that we didn't fix," Ambrose said. "That's the only thing that I hate. I hate it but it doesn't bother me that I'm not mentioned."

Duncan was engaged to Omaraosa Manigualt Stallworth, a contestant from the reality show, "The Apprentice."

Tributes to Duncan are poured in from Hollywood.

Tom Hanks, who co-starred with Duncan in "The Green Mile" called him a "treasure" -- and "he was a big love of man and his passing leaves us stunned."

Comedian Steve Harvey wrote on twitter: "What an incredible soldier in God's plan."

Actress Neicy Nash wrote: "we shared some great times -- see you on the other side."

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