John Witherspoon: Celebrities Grieve Sudden Death of the Veteran Actor and Comedian
John Witherspoon's passing brought on a wave of grief in the industry. His former co-stars, Ice Cube and Marlon Wayans and fellow comedian Martin Lawrence sent out special tributes.
“Something don't feel right. This is heavy on my heart...”
Witherspoon who was 77 died on Tuesday. No official cause of death was revealed in the announcement his family made on the comedian’s Instagram.
“It is with deep sadness we have to tweet this, but our husband & father John Witherspoon has passed away,” the statement read. “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.”
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.— John Witherspoon (@John_POPS_Spoon) October 30, 2019
- The Witherspoon Family pic.twitter.com/ov9P34kaMn
Shortly after, tributes came pouring in from celebrities who recognized the void Witherspoon has left.
Among those who mourned him were his “Friday” co-stars Ice Cube and Regina King, and his son on “The Wayan Bros,” Marlon Wayans.
"I'm devastated over the passing of John Witherspoon," Ice Cube wrote on his social media. "Life won't be as funny without him."
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
King hailed the comedy legend with the words, “My dad, my grandpa, my comedic inspiration! I love you Spoons! Rest in Paradise, King!”
"I'm sad. Broken. Hurt,” were the first words of Wayans’ lengthy message. The actor acknowledged that Witherspoon was his “tv dad,” “mentor,” and “friend.”
“Something don't feel right. This is heavy on my heart,” he lamented. “Anyone that knows me knows how much I love pops.”
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
Wayans went on to say that Witherspoon had an “amazing family” who became his family too. He also vowed to “pass on all the jewels” that the comedian shared with him.
“You got "all the keys " and I know you got one to Heaven's gate,” Wayans wrote in parting. “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 [you're] dancing in Heaven with ugly white shoes on.”
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
Fellow comedians also paid tribute to the seasoned star from Detroit who appeared in “The Tracy Morgan Show,” “The Boondocks,” “The First Family,” and “Black Jesus.”
Martin Lawrence recognized that “the world has lost a true comedy legend and all around genuine soul” while Arsenio Hall described the news of Witherspoon’s death as “heart wrenching.”
The world has lost a true comedy legend and all around genuine soul, who paved the way for so many of us to be able to do what we love. My deepest condolences to John’s family. I know he’s already up there makin everyone laugh 🙏🏾 #rip #comedy #legend #JohnWitherspoon pic.twitter.com/mKzXUGK8Uw— Martin Lawrence (@realmartymar) October 30, 2019
TV Host Loni Love tried to make light of her sadness by jokin about Witherspoon’s relation to Reese Witherspoon.
“Btw John Witherspoon and Reese Witherspoon are not related..” she said and added, “He would have loved that joke!!!!”
Btw John Witherspoon and Reese Witherspoon are not related.. He would have loved that joke!!!! RIP John pic.twitter.com/J0eao7YVyJ— Loni Love (@LoniLove) October 30, 2019
Record producer Russell Simmons in his grief reminded the audience to remember Witherspoon for his service and for the laughter he shared. He also took comfort in knowing that the actor was “free from suffering and is chilling in the kingdom.”
Witherspoon is survived by his wife, Angela and two sons, Alexander and JD. His family is still “in shock” according to a statement sent to Deadline.
“John used to say ‘I’m no big deal’ but he was huge deal to us,” the statement also said.