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John Witherspoon from 'Friday' Reportedly Suffered from Coronary Artery Disease before Fatal Heart Attack at 77

Mary Scott
Nov 13, 2019
09:26 A.M.
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John Witherspoon was reportedly suffering from several heart-related ailments, including coronary artery disease, before the fatal heart attack that took his life two weeks ago. The information was revealed in the actor’s recently issued death certificate.


Celebrity news site TMZ has obtained the document stating that Witherspoon had been battling Coronary Artery Disease and hypertension for a while.

John Witherspoon visits the "Late Show With David Letterman" on Dec. 21, 2009 in New York City | Photo: Getty Images


The outlet noted that, although hypertension was not a direct cause of the late actor’s heart attack, it did nothing to help his chances of survival. The site also obtained audio of a dispatcher that attended to Witherspoon.

The dispatcher initially requested rescue for Witherspoon, describing him as an unconscious man under cardiac arrest and revealing that CPR was in progress. The dispatcher eventually canceled the rescue after pronouncing the beloved comedian dead.

John Witherspoon arrives for "The Late Show with David Letterman" on Feb. 22, 2012 in New York City | Photo: Getty Images



Witherspoon passed away on October 29 at 5:30 pm as listed on his death certificate. His distraught family shared the news via a statement obtained by Deadline.

"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," they wrote.



The statement added:

"He is survived by his wife Angela, and his sons JD, Alexander, and a large family. 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 [a] huge deal to us."



During a career that spanned decades, Witherspoon garnered scores of TV and film credits. The Detroit-born entertainer was, however, most known for his roles in films like the "Friday" installments, "Boomerang," "House Party," and "I’m Gonna Get You Sucka."

From 1995 to 1999, Witherspoon also starred as Pops on "The Wayans Bros." and from 2005 to 2014, he voiced Gramps on the animated series "The Boondocks."



In the days after his death, fans and celebrities across the world paid tribute to Witherspoon’s memory on social media.

Colleagues like Ice Cube, Regina King, Marlon Wayans, Samuel L. Jackson, and many more led the train of tributes to a man who spent over four decades making people laugh with his gift.

John Witherspoon & Ice Cube pose at the after party of the premiere of "Are We There Yet" on Jan. 9, 2005 in California | Photo: Getty Images


Witherspoon's son, JD, who is following in his dad’s footsteps as an entertainer, also revealed just how much the man meant to him.

"My Dad died today & honestly, I’m not sure how to feel," the YouTube star wrote alongside photos of the duo together over the years. "I’m sad, but I’m also happy 4 all the great times we had together."



"We’d roast each other like homies more than Father & Son, and I really liked that," JD continued in a social media post. "He was my best friend & my idol. Love U Dad. I’ll miss u."

On Tuesday, November 5, Witherspoon was laid to rest at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles. The versatile entertainer was also honored with a star-studded funeral service attended by famous faces like Chris Tucker, Ice Cube, David Letterman, and Cedric the Entertainer.


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