Willie Garson's family always knew he was destined to be an actor.
The actor died on Tuesday afternoon following a short illness. Garson had been suffering from pancreatic cancer and was surrounded by family at the time of his death. Garson's obituary, written by his loved ones, was published in The New York Times on Thursday.
In the obituary, his family wrote that "nothing could better describe" the Sex and the City star than the term "working actor."
"A working actor has been defined as 'an actor who while never achieving stardom, has a long and productive career and earns a better than decent living and has the admiration of his peers,' " the obituary reads. "Nothing could better describe Garson. For the last four decades, he appeared in over 300 television shows and over 70 films."
In addition to his expansive filmography, Garson also acted in theater productions across the country, working with companies including Naked Angels, The Manhattan Theatre Club, the Roundabout Theater and the Geffen Playhouse.
"Garson was a ubiquitous presence in American pop culture," his loved ones wrote. "He could be a classmate of Michael J. Fox on Family Ties or a waiter on a Cheers episode, or L. Harvey Oswald in an independent film Ruby or Bill Murray's assistant in Groundhog Day. He could just as easily be a TV executive in Soapdish as a man with mysterious luck in The X-Files as the president of an apartment board on Friends."
Aside from acting, Garson was also known as a "world- class poker player." He loved to play in tournaments for charity and through the World Poker Tour, his family said.
Above all, he was a beloved father to his son Nathen. Garson met Nathen as a vivacious 7-year-old while attending a Los Angeles adoption fair in October 2008. After more than a year of screenings and paperwork, Nathen was officially adopted by Garson in January 2010.
When he was in third grade, Nathen raved about his dad to PEOPLE: "I like to play with Willie on the Wii and give him kisses and hugs. He is the best dad ever."
A few years later, Garson said in PEOPLE's 2014 Father's Day special that "Nathen has made me want to branch out and do more."
Tommaso Boddi/Getty Willie Garson and Nathen in 2019
"When I first became a dad to Nathen, everything had such newness to it. But we both wanted this adoption, and we worked things out together because we are partners in this," he said. "I don't know what I would have done with a newborn... But I do wish I'd met him sooner, because I enjoy him so much. His sense of humor is a carbon copy of mine. I have to be careful about some things I say, because I will hear it right back at me an hour later. He's like a sponge."
Garson continued, "As he becomes a teen, it's going to be like, 'Dad, leave me alone!' For now he doesn't mind me being around."
After news of Garson's death broke on Tuesday, Nathen shared a heartbreaking tribute to his dad on Instagram, calling him "the toughest and funniest and smartest person I've known."
Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free weekly newsletter to get the biggest news of the week delivered to your inbox every Friday.
"I love you so much papa. Rest In Peace and I'm so glad you got to share all your adventures with me and were able to accomplish so much," Nathen wrote alongside a carousel of photos of Garson. "I'm so proud of you."
"I will always love you, but I think it's time for you to go on an adventure of your own," Nathen continued. "You'll always be with me. Love you more than you will ever know and I'm glad you can be at peace now. You always were the toughest and funniest and smartest person I've known. I'm glad you shared you're [sic] love with me. I'll never forget it or lose it ❤️😘."
Garson is also survived by brother John Paszamant, sister Lisa Clark, nieces Katie Clark, Jenna Clark and Amanda Clark and nephews Joshua Paszamant, Michael Paszamant.