John Witherspoon's Son J.D. Witherspoon Pays Tribute to 'Best Friend' and 'Idol' Father Following His Sudden Death

J.D. Witherspoon, the son of legendary actor-comedian John Witherspoon, mourned his father's death on Twitter Tuesday night, writing that he was "not sure how to feel. I'm sad, but I'm also happy [for] all the great times we had together." Posting the message alongside four images of the father and son together, he called John his "best friend [and] my idol."

Fans immediately offered their condolences to Witherspoon, calling his father, John a "legend."

"This one right here hurts, condolences, he will be missed dearly..." one user wrote.

"Sorry for your loss. He was an immense talent," another wrote.

"Sending all my love to John's whole family. He was always as kind as he was funny [and] he was funnier than anybody. Comedy is forever better because of his good work," another wrote.

"Sending my dearest prayers and condolences. He was such a wonderful actor and so many movie memories......RIP," someone else said.

John died suddenly at his Sherman Oaks, California, home on Tuesday at the age of 77, his family said in a statement on his Twitter page. A cause of death has not been released.

"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 & forever," the Witherspoon family wrote.

The comedy great was best known for his role as Ice Cube's grumpy dad, "Pops," in the hit film Friday, as well as its two sequels, Next Friday and Friday After Next. Deadline reports that he was also expected to reprise his role in the upcoming final edition to the franchise, Last Friday.

But John was also known for his role voicing Gramps on the cult animated series The Boondocks, and likely would have returned for the series' upcoming revival on HBO Max. He also did stints on comedy series like The Wayans Bros., The Tracy Morgan Show, The First Family and Black Jesus, as well as frequently appeared as a guest on the Late Show with David Letterman.

John launched a stand-up comedy career and began acting in the late 1970s with several guest-starring TV roles. He made his feature film debut in 1980's The Jazz Singer and appeared in many others, like Hollywood Shuffle, Boomerang, Vampire in Brooklyn, The Ladies Man and Fakin' Da Funk.


He is survived by his wife Angela and his sons, Witherspoon and Alexander. In a statement made to Deadline, the Witherspoon family said "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 not big deal,' but he was a huge deal to us."

Photo credit: John Shearer / Staff / Getty