On Tuesday, actor and comedian John Witherspoon, also known as ‘Pops,’ has passed away in his home at the age of 77.

The  news was confirmed by his family in a statement on social media.

“It is with deep sadness we have to tweet this, but our husband and 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 and forever,” said his family in a statement.

The cause of his death has not been released yet.

“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.”

Detroit, Michigan native Witherspoon started his career as a stand-up comedian and made his television debut in the 1970s when he appeared in the show, Barnaby Jones. Following his debut, he performed in many other shows and starred in films. Witherspoon was best known for his character in the movie Friday and its sequel Next Friday where he played the role of Ice Cube’s dad. 

Witherspoon’s family, friends, and co-stars paid tribute on social media.

“I’m devastated over the passing of John Witherspoon,” Ice Cube captioned the picture with the co-star on Twitter. “Life won’t be as funny without him.”

“My dad, my grandpa, my comedic inspiration! I love you Spoons! Rest In Paradise, King,” wrote actress, Regina King. 

Witherspoon’s co-star Marlon Wayans shared a long, heartfelt statement following the actor’s death.

“I’m sad. Broken. Hurt.. yet extremely grateful to God that i got to spend 5 years of my life working with one of the funniest sweetest wisest humblest loving man @johnnywitherspoon you were my tv dad and my mentor and my friend. I miss you already. Something don’t feel right. This is heavy on my heart. Anyone that knows me knows how much i love pops. You have a strong wife and great kids. What an amazing family. Your boys damn near grew up on the #WayansBros set they’ll always be like my little brothers and sons. i will pass on all the jewels that you bestowed on to us.”

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I’m sad. Broken. Hurt.. yet extremely grateful to God that i got to spend 5 years of my life working with one of the funniest sweetest wisest humblest loving man @johnnywitherspoon you were my tv dad and my mentor and my friend. I miss you already. Something don’t feel right. This is heavy on my heart. Anyone that knows me knows how much i love pops. You have a strong wife and great kids. What an amazing family. Your boys damn near grew up on the #WayansBros set they’ll always be like my little brothers and sons. i will pass on all the jewels that you bestowed on to us. Thank you God for the many many many laughs that we shared on and off the set. You got “all the keys 🔑 “ and i know you got one to heaven’s gate. Anytime i want to laugh or to see you I’m gonna put on a episode of wayans bros and laugh until i cry. I miss already…. hope your dancing in heaven with ugly white shoes on. “Pops pops sugar pops”. #ripjohnwitherspoon #mysecondpops

A post shared by Marlon Wayans (@marlonwayans) on

The actor continued, “Thank you God for the many many many laughs that we shared on and off the set. You got “all the keys 🔑 “ and i know you got one to heaven’s gate. Anytime i want to laugh or to see you I’m gonna put on a episode of wayans bros and laugh until i cry. I miss already…. hope your dancing in heaven with ugly white shoes on. “Pops pops sugar pops”. #ripjohnwitherspoon #mysecondpops.”

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Witherspoon is survived by his wife, Angela, and two sons, Alexander and JD.

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