Jennifer Garner has announced that her father has died at the age of 85.

The actress has written a heartfelt tribute to her father William, who she confirmed had “passed peacefully” on Saturday afternoon (March 30), and that he will leave a “loving legacy”.

In an Instagram message, the 13 Going On 30 and Alias star said: “We were with him, singing Amazing Grace as he left us (did we carry him across or scare him away — valid question).”

“While there is no tragedy in the death of an 85-year-old man who lived a healthy, wonderful life, I know grief is unavoidable, waiting around unexpected corners.”

“Today is for gratitude.”

“We are grateful for Dad’s gentle demeanour and quiet strength. For how he teased with a mischievous smile, and for the way he invented the role of all in, ever patient girl dad. We are grateful for his work ethic, leadership and faith.”

William John Garner worked as an engineer for Union Carbide, and married English teacher Patricia Ann English in 1965, with whom he had three daughters, including Jennifer.

The actress, also known for the films Juno, Dallas Buyers Club and Daredevil, expressed gratitude to the Charleston Area Medical Centre and City of Hope, a “world-renowned pioneer in cancer research, treatment and prevention”.

“Your care extended Dad’s life and gave him time to be in his favourite spots — surrounded by daughters and grandchildren, cheering for his beloved Aggies, captaining a boat, and — most of all — next to his wife of 59 years, our Mum,” she said.

“There is so much to say about my dad — my sisters and I will never be done talking about how wonderful he was, so bear with us — but for today I share these memories with my appreciation for the kind and brilliant man, father, and grandfather he was, as well as the loving legacy he left behind.”

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