It looks like 2016 had one more sad note to sound before the New Year's bells rang at midnight. Family members of

Family members of William Christopher who played the iconic Father John Mulcahy on the legendary television show M*A*S*H, announced his passing late Saturday afternoon.

The actor suffered from small cell lung cancer and had been undergoing treatment for quite some time.His agent said that Christopher was diagnosed with cancer more than a year ago and had been in hospice since the beginning of the week.

Christopher's best-known role as Father Mulcahy on M*A*S*H was reprised in the short-lived follow-up to that series After MASH.  He also had various parts on such popular television shows of the 70's as Gomer Pyle USMC and Hogan's Heroes.

According to a report published by ABC7.com in Los Angeles, Christopher's co-star on M*A*S*H Loretta Swit released this statement following the announcement of his death.

Our dear Bill and his goodness are a great argument for there being a heaven. I never heard him complain or lose his temper. Everyone adored him. A great sense of humor and a great humanitarian. He became TV's quintessential padre as Father Mulcahy on 'M*A*S*H.' It was the most perfect casting ever known. He was probably responsible for more people coming back to the church. If God is nigh, then surely he or she will welcome Bill with open arms.
William Christopher was 84 years old.