Friday actor John Witherspoon dies aged 77 as co-star Ice Cube leads tributes

John Witherspoon has died, aged 77 (Picture: FilmMagic)

John Witherspoon has died, aged 77.

The Friday actor passed away suddenly at his home, in California.

His family confirmed the tragic news in a statement to Deadline, asking for privacy.

‘It is with deepest sorrow that we can confirm our beloved husband and father, John Witherspoon, one of the hardest working men in show business, died today at his home in Sherman Oaks at the age of 77,’ it read.

‘He is survived by his wife Angela, and his sons JD, Alexander, and a large family. We are all in shock, please give us a minute for a moment in privacy and we will celebrate his life and his work together.

‘John used to say, “I’m no big deal”, but he was huge deal to us.’

While a message shared on his Twitter page read: ‘It is with deep sadness we have to tweet this, but our husband & father John Witherspoon has passed away.

‘He was a Legend in the entertainment industry, and a father figure to all who watched him over the years. We love you “POPS” always & forever.’

Ice Cube led tributes to co-star John (Picture: Twitter)
Chance shared a gif of the late comedy legend (Picture: Twitter)

Fans and famous friends rushed to pay tribute to the late actor on social media.

Ice Cube – who starred alongside John in the Friday franchise – was among the first to pay respects, tweeting: ‘I’m devastated over the passing of John Witherspoon. Life won’t be as funny without him.’

Tributes poured in for John on social media (Picture: WireImage)

While Chance The Rapper commented: God bless John Witherspoon. The definition of an icon. Wow.’

‘R.I.P John Witherspoon Thank you so much for all the laughs,’ a fan added. ‘Thank you for bringing us all joy with your iconic role as ”Granddad” in the amazing series Boondocks.

‘You’ll surely be missed and forever in our hearts.’

John first broke into the entertainment industry back in the late 1970s, starting off a stand-up comedy career.

His first TV appearance came back in 1977, on the Richard Pryor Show, before he went on to star in The Incredible Hulk, Good Times and Hill Street Blues.

The actor made his big screen debut in 1980, thanks to The Jazz Singer, after which he appeared in in Hollywood Shuffle, House Party and Boomerang.

His most notable role was as Willie Jones in the Friday franchise, dad of Ice Cube’s Craig, a role he reprised in Next Friday, Friday After Next and was due to play once again in Last Friday.

John was also the voice of Gramps in animated show The Boondocks from 2005-2014, which is currently being revived for HBO to be released next year.

He is survived by wife Angela, and sons JD and Alexander.

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