John Witherspoon (Picture: Jean-Paul Aussenard/WireImage)

Friday actor John Witherspoon has passed away suddenly at his California home aged 77.

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

A message has been shared on the actor’s Twitter page which reads: ‘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.’

As the tributes come pouring in, we’ve taken a look at Witherspoon’s career as an entertainer…

Who did John Witherspoon play in Friday?

Detroit-born John is perhaps best known for appearing as Willie Jones in the Friday franchise which began with the first film in 1995.

His character Willie was the dad of main character Craig, played by Ice Cube.

Ice Cube led the tributes to John, tweeting: ‘I’m devastated over the passing of John Witherspoon. Life won’t be as funny without him.’

Ice Cube's John Witherspoon tribute on twitter

John started off as entertainer in the 1970s when he began his stand-up comedy career.

His first appearance on TV came back in 1977 when he featured on the Richard Pryor Show.

He went on to appear in Good Times (1979), The Incredible Hulk (1978), Hill Street Blues (1982) and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1994).

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Three years after his TV debut came his first big-screen role as, in 1980, John appeared in The Jazz Singer.

He followed this up with roles in Hollywood Shuffle (1987), Boomerang (1992) and House Party (1990).

The same year he starred in the first Friday film, John also played Silas Green in Vampire in Brooklyn.

After his turn in Friday, John appeared in the likes of Little Nicky (2000), The Boondocks (2005-2014), Black-ish (2016) and Black Jesus (2014-2019) as well as Friday spin-offs, Next Friday (2000) and Friday After Next (2002).

Chance The Rapper's John Witherspoon tribute on twitter



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