Simon Shelton Barnes, actor behind 'Teletubbies' character Tinky Winky, has died at 52

It's a sad day in children's television: Simon Shelton Barnes, the actor who brought to life Tinky Winky in "Teletubbies," passed away, it was revealed Tuesday. He died on January 17.

"RIP Simon Shelton aka Tinky Winky: Remembering the many good times," tweeted former co-star John Simmit, who played Dipsy. "Rest easy."

Barnes, a father of three, was a trained ballet dancer and choreographer who was cast as the purple character in the late 1990s. Tinky Winky was set apart from the other Teletubbies by often carrying a handbag.

Tinky Winky was originally played by Dave Thompson, but Thompson was replaced because his "interpretation of the role was not acceptable," according to Thompson.

The BBC show enjoyed success both overseas and in the United States, where it aired on Nick Jr. Although it only filmed from 1997 to 2001, reruns still regularly air more than fifteen years later.

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Po (left) and Tinky Winky of the Teletubbies close to the O2 Arena, London. (Photo by Ian West/PA Images via Getty Images)
The Teletubbies at the 20th anniversary party at the BFI Southbank in London. (Photo by Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 13: (L-R) Performers dressed as Dipsy, Laa-Laa, Tinky Winky and Po from the cartoon The Teletubbies prepare before the Brand Licensing Europe character parade at Olympia Exhibition Centre on October 13, 2015 in London, England. A record number of famous children's characters will take part in this year's character parade during the 17th edition of the annual Brand Licensing Europe exhibition. The event, which is dedicated to licensing and brand extension, will take place between October 13 and October 15 with over 2,200 worldwide properties on show. (Photo by Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 13: Tinky Winky from the TV show Teletubbies is briefed ahead of the Brand Licensing Europe character parade at Olympia Exhibition Centre on October 13, 2015 in London, England. A record number of famous children's characters will take part in this year's character parade during the 17th edition of the annual Brand Licensing Europe exhibition. The event, which is dedicated to licensing and brand extension, will take place between October 13 and October 15 with over 2,200 worldwide properties on show. (Photo by Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 10: Teletubbies attend photocall to promote new tour at Westfield on September 10, 2009 in London, England. (Photo by Ferdaus Shamim/WireImage) *** Local Caption ***
(Original Caption) The famous characters... (Photo by Siemoneit/Sygma via Getty Images)
David Dilks, 29, of Holland, Pa., center, dressed as 'Po', a Teletubbie, greets children at Chanukah Wonderland in Newtown, Pa., Sunday, Dec. 13, 1998. About one-hundred children came to see a Holiday concert by the Teletubbies. (photo by William Thomas Cain)
John Hales, chairman of toymakers Golden Bear Products, with Teletubbies in his factory showroom. Hales's plant in Telford, Shropshire cannot manufacture them quickly enough to satisfy overwhelming demand for Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po. His company is shipping out 100,000 pieces a week and by Christmas Day over 1.2 million will have been sent out to the shops.See PA story RACING Hales. Photo by Rui Vieira/PA (Photo by Rui Vieira - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
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