Beloved star of Friday and The Wayans Bros John Witherspoon passed away suddenly at his home this week. The actor and comedian was 77 years old.

“We Are All in Shock”

“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,” reads the official statement from his family.

“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 a huge deal to us.”

50 Years of Funny

Witherspoon began his career as a stand-up comic in the 1970s and continued to perform sets during his 50-year career. In fact, he had several dates on the calendar for the coming months.

He starred in a string of films throughout the 80s and 90s, including a scene-stealing role in Boomerang with Eddie Murphy, although audiences best know him as the father of Ice Cube’s character in Friday, as well as the sequels Next Friday and Friday After Next.

Sadly, he won’t get to appear as planned in the long-awaited final film of the franchise, Last Friday. It’s likely that the film will pay tribute to him, as have many of his costars and friends from the industry.