Actor and comedian John Witherspoon, who was best known for his role as Willie Jones in the “Friday” film franchise, died Tuesday, Oct. 29, at his home in Sherman Oaks, California. He was 77.

In a statement on Witherspoon’s Twitter account, the family confirmed his death on Wednesday. No cause of death had been provided.

“It is with deep sadness we have to tweet this, but our husband & father John Witherspoon has passed away,” his family said. “He was a legend in the entertainment industry and a father figure to all who watched him over the years.”

The actor was born on Jan. 27, 1942 in Detroit. He launched his stand-up comedy and acting career in the late 1970s with guest-starring television roles such as Barnaby Jones. He first credited film role was in the 1980 Neil Diamond remake of “The Jazz Singer.”

Witherspoon also starred in films such as “Hollywood Shuffle,” “Boomerang” and “Vampire in Brooklyn,” and all three of the “Friday” comedies. He made numerous appearances on television shows such as “The Richard Pryor Show,” “The Tracy Morgan Show,” “The Boondocks” and “Black Jesus.”

He is survived by his wife of over 30 years, Angela, and sons JD and Alexander. In a tweet, stand-up comedian JD remembered the good times with his father and posted a series of family photos, calling his dad his “best friend” and “idol.”

“Life won’t be as funny without him,” said Ice Cube, who co-starred as Witherspoon’s son in “Friday.” He added that he was devastated by the news of Witherspoon’s death.

Witherspoon was scheduled to perform a series of dates at the Stand Up Live in Huntsville, Alabama, next month.

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