Comedian and actor John Witherspoon died in his home Wednesday at the age of 77, Deadline reports.
Witherspoon is regarded by many as an American icon who inspired and entertained fans since entering Hollywood in the 1970s.
The Detroit native is best known for his role as Ice Cube's father in the 1995 film, Friday. Witherspoon also served as the voice of Gramps on the popular animation series, The Boondocks.
According to CNN, Witherspoon was thinking about making a return to The Boondocks when the series comes back.
“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,” Witherspoon’s family said in a statement to Deadline.
Witherspoon also played as Pops on The Wayans Bros. and took part in The Tracy Morgan Show, as well as The First Family and Black Jesus.
Marlon Wayans released a statement on Instagram, saying "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."
View this post on Instagram
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
"My dad, my grandpa, my comedic inspiration," actress Regina King wrote on Twitter. "I love you Spoons! Rest In Paradise, King."
My dad, my grandpa, my comedic inspiration! I love you Spoons! Rest In Paradise, King pic.twitter.com/U6GsNrrKXF
— Regina King (@ReginaKing) October 30, 2019
According to Deadline, Witherspoon was still planning to perform more standup shows before his death.
"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 actor's family said.
The family also released a statement on Twitter, saying Witherspoon was a legend in the entertainment industry and a father figure to all who watched him over the years.
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.
– The Witherspoon Family pic.twitter.com/ov9P34kaMn
— John Witherspoon (@John_POPS_Spoon) October 30, 2019
Witherspoon's other popular roles in movies and shows include Soul Plane, Little Man, House Party, I'm Gonna Get You Sucka, The Incredible Hulk, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Living Single and Black-ish.
Chance The Rapper recently featured Witherspoon on his album, The Big Day.
Thanks to my Main man @chancetherapper for having me on his New Album #TheBigDay
— John Witherspoon (@John_POPS_Spoon) July 29, 2019
Witherspoon is survived by his wife Angela and his sons JD, Alexander and a large family.