Witherspoon, ho was affectionately known as “pops,” was beloved for his roles in classic films like Friday franchise, Boomerang, Vampire In Brooklyn, Im Gon Git You Sucka, Meteor Man and more. His voice brought to life Robert Jebediah “Grandad” Freeman from the insanely popular animated show The Boondocks, which was recently given new life on the new streaming service HBO Max. He was also loved for his role as Pops on the syndicated comedy sitcom The Wayans Brothers.
In a statement to Deadline, Witherspoon’s family confirmed the sad news:
“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. 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 huge deal to us.”
No details as to cause of death were revealed. Witherspoon was still performing stand up regularly and had several upcoming shows planned up until the time of his death.
Colleagues, fans, and friends have taken to social media to react to the tragic news. You see all of the heartfelt condolences in the gallery below. Rest in power pops, you will be missed.
Photo: Johnny Louis / Getty
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
John Witherspoon had all the quotables. RIP to a real one.— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) October 30, 2019
Fuckkkk RIP John Witherspoon! Lots of laughs cuz of ya 🙏🏾— Cozz (@cody_macc) October 30, 2019
Oh man, so sorry to hear about John Witherspoon. A great comic and a class act. Years ago, I had the privileged of working with him and not only was his act hilarious but he would also kill by dropping one of his many unforgettable movie quotes. #RIPJohnWitherspoon #coordinate pic.twitter.com/XsO71EKnGw— Matt Knudsen (@mattknudsen) October 30, 2019
Wave To Uncle Bernie For All Us. The Comedic World Will Never Be The Same 💔🕊 Rest In Peace John Witherspoon pic.twitter.com/6Nb6YOidEO— DJ First Class™ 🏁 (@1DJFirstClass) October 30, 2019
WOOOOOW throw the whole year away rip John Witherspoon 😢 pic.twitter.com/ph5vOPxfQa— WHORE (@LSavaun) October 30, 2019
its a fucking john witherspoon marathon at the crib on my fucking momma— Meech (@DemetriusHarmon) October 30, 2019
Prolly my favorite John Witherspoon moment right here, big RIP )))): pic.twitter.com/RssS3vJSNN— my name is my name (@1800halfdead) October 30, 2019
John Witherspoon.— juice wayne (@visecs) October 30, 2019
This man WAS Black Entertainment.
This nigga made you LOVE every character he played.
This man had charm.
True Legend. Rest In Peace King.
This hurt. pic.twitter.com/cSD1ZTv5JE
Damn I just knew John Witherspoon was gonna be here forever. RIP— Joe 🏁 (@JoeFreshgoods) October 30, 2019
This is a tough one😔😔 We send our deepest condolences to the family, friends, and fans of #JohnWitherspoon and his untimely death. We will always carry him in our hearts. Rest easy, #GRANDDAD. pic.twitter.com/fPyDqQH25Z— The Boondocks ™ (@THE_BOONDOCKS) October 30, 2019
Rest in Peace to John Witherspoon. Will never forget this iconic moment from The Boondocks with him as Grandad. pic.twitter.com/c5h3bQ8mBq— Gabi Hate Account 🖕🏾 (@_RobJay) October 30, 2019
My heart hurts so much right now, RIP to John Witherspoon,I appreciate our conversations and the wisdom you gave me as a young comic, we lost a real one today and It'd be remiss to not say he was and is irreplaceable and a invaluable icon in the comedic community sleep easy man😥 pic.twitter.com/whOsWNq3t0— Jay Pharoah (@JayPharoah) October 30, 2019
So saddened to learn about the death of John Witherspoon. My prayers and thoughts are with his family and friends! ~PHS pic.twitter.com/a594LhjZRK— Elijah Burke (@DaBlackPope) October 30, 2019
John Witherspoon delivering one of the most legendary lines in film history pic.twitter.com/RhxgqdJEJh— Josiah Johnson (@KingJosiah54) October 30, 2019
here's a supercut of john witherspoon eating food in movies just because pic.twitter.com/nSE7qihmtl— Tyler Conway (@jtylerconway) October 30, 2019