Legendary comedian and actor John Witherspoon passed away on Tuesday, Oct. 29. The 77-year-old left behind his wife, Angela, and two sons, JD and Alexander.
Witherspoon’s decades of experience in the world have also left countless others bereft by his loss — including many celebrities.
Ice Cube, who played Witherspoon’s son in the “Friday” movies, shared his sadness on Twitter, saying that the world just lost a lot of laughter:
I’m devastated over the passing of John Witherspoon. Life won’t be as funny without him. pic.twitter.com/gtmiZiEppP
— Ice Cube (@icecube) October 30, 2019
And Rain Pryor, civil rights activist and daughter of iconic comedian Richard Pryor, also took to Twitter to share a touching tribute to Witherspoon, writing that she hopes Witherspoon and her father are making each other laugh now:
RIP #JohnWitherspoon may you laugh with daddy. You will be missed. Rest in power 😔
— Rain Pryor (@RainPryor) October 30, 2019
No cause of death has been released, and the family asks for privacy during this very difficult time.
“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,” reads a release that the family shared with Deadline. “John used to say ‘I’m no big deal,’ but he was huge deal to us.”
Witherspoon certainly was a big deal to many people, thanks to his impressive catalog of work, including his role as Pops on “The Wayans Bros.” and his role as the voice of Granddad on “The Boondocks.” He also appeared on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and “Living Single,” and in films such as “Vampire in Brooklyn,” “The Ladies Man” and “Fakin’ Da Funk.”
Marlon Wayans, star of “The Wayans Bros.,” spent many years working with Witherspoon, and he shared on Instagram how deeply painful the passing of “Pops” is to him.
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
Regina King, who worked with Witherspoon on “The Boondocks” and “Living Single,” also paid tribute to her dear friend on Twitter.
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
“Saturday Night Live” star Leslie Jones followed suit with her own tweet, acknowledging the incredible depth of Witherspoon’s talent.
I’m so sad, I loved pops!! RIP to one of the greats will miss you John Witherspoon damn I’m sad pic.twitter.com/TaYWU4mSN4
— Leslie Jones 🦋 (@Lesdoggg) October 30, 2019
As stars continue to share their sorrow on social media, the hashtag #RIPPOPS is currently trending on Twitter, and fans of all ages and backgrounds are celebrating the many times that Witherspoon made them laugh on “The Wayans Bros.” and beyond.
What a beautiful legacy of joy and happiness to leave behind.