John Witherspoon, an actor and comedian best known for his role as Willie Jones in the "Friday" film franchise, died Tuesday at his home in Sherman Oaks, California, CBS Los Angeles reports. He was 77.
In a message posted to Witherspoon's Twitter account, the family confirmed his death.
"He was a legend in the entertainment industry and a father figure to all who watched him over the years," his family said.
The actor was born in Detroit in 1942 and launched his stand-up comedy and acting career in the late 1970s with guest-starring television roles. He made his feature debut in the 1980 film "The Jazz Singer."
Witherspoon also starred in films such as "Boomerang" and "Vampire in Brooklyn," alongside Eddie Murphy. He made numerous appearances on television shows such as "The Tracy Morgan Show," "The Boondocks" and "Black Jesus."
He is survived by his wife, Angela, and sons JD and Alexander. In a tweet, JD remembered the good times with his father and posted a series of family photos.
No cause of death was released. Witherspoon was scheduled to perform a series of dates at the Stand Up Live in Huntsville, Alabama next month.