Eric Stonestreet has paid tribute to 'Glee' actress Jane Galloway Heitz, who has died at the age of 78.

Eric Stonestreet

Eric Stonestreet

Jane - who played the role of choir head Lillian Adler in the musical drama series and also appeared in 'The Big Bang Theory', 'ER' and 'Grey's Anatomy' - passed away of congestive heart failure in an Illinois hospital last week, her daughter Amie Richardson has confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter.

In addition to acting, Galloway Heitz also launched her own casting agency, which helped launch the career of 'Modern Family' star Eric, as well as Stephen Colbert and Steve Carrell and Eric took to Twitter remember his mentor with a touching social media post.

Eric tweeted: "Jane was the first casting director to ever call me in for an audition. She became a good friend and mentor.

"She put me on the path I'm on. I wish I could have said thank you one more time."

In 'Glee', Jane's alter ego, one-time choir director Lillian, died before the events of the series but appeared in flashback scenes.

Her image appeared in the series, accompanied with the phrase: "By its very definition, Glee is about opening yourself to joy."

That motto inspired Will Schuester, played by Matthew Morrison, to take over the Glee club and get his students singing.

Jane also appeared the US version of 'Shameless', and films such as the 2007 crime thriller 'I Know Who Killed Me' and 'The Straight Story' in 1999.

She was a widower to her husband Bill and is survived by her daughter Annie and three grandchildren.