According to Deadline, the 77-year-old died at his Sherman Oaks, California home on Tuesday (October 29). Witherspoon’s family confirmed the news in a statement.
“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,” the family said. “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.”
The family also shared an Instagram post about Witherspoon’s death.
“It is with deep sadness we have to tweet this, but our husband & father John Witherspoon has passed away,” they wrote. “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.”
Witherspoon starred in the original Friday film, which was released in 1995. He also appeared in the sequels Next Friday and Friday After Next. He was expected to reprise his role in upcoming final installment of the franchise, Last Friday.
Born in Detroit in 1942, Witherspoon launched a stand-up comedy career and began acting in the late ’70s with guest-starring television roleS. In 1980, he made his feature debut in the The Jazz Singer.
Witherspoon’s other films include the 1988 cult classic I’m Gonna Git You Sucka, Bird and The Meteor Man. He also voiced the animated character “Gramps” on The Boondocks.
No cause of death has been revealed as of publication time.