John Witherspoon was making people laugh up until the very end.
The actor, best known for his roles in the Friday franchise, died Tuesday at his home in Sherman Oaks, Calif., at 77, his manager confirmed to the Associated Press. The day he died, Oct. 28, was the same day that he posted a video to his YouTube channel, featuring a cooking series called “Cooking for Poor People,” for the first time since October 2018.
In the final episode, Witherspoon wore an apron with his own face on it and mused on the importance of a good roux — he was cooking a recipe for what he called Poor Man’s Gumbo — to the state of America. “What the hell is going on?” he said as he shook in seasoning.
Witherspoon said early on in the video that he hadn’t posted lately because of his full schedule.
“Now I know I haven’t been here for a while, but I’ve been busy doing other things,” he said. “We about to do the Boondocks, and we gonna do another Friday, but I’ve been around working on the road, because I’ve been very, very busy and got a big schedule this year.”
Witherspoon was in fact on tap to reprise his role in the upcoming Friday sequel Last Friday. He was expected to return to The Boondocks in the project on HBO Max, according to Deadline.
In a statement given to that outlet, Witherspoon’s family said that he was “one of the hardest working men in show business.” They noted that he’s survived by his wife, Angela, and two sons, JD and Alexander, as well as 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,” they said in the statement. “John used to say ‘I’m no big deal,’ but he was huge deal to us.”
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
His final words on the video were, “Thank you. Love each other.”
After his family shared news of his death, fans shared their reactions to the video.
“Literally posted after a year then gone in a few hours. RIP Legend,” one wrote.
“Rip the legend,” another fan wrote. “Most definitely will be missed.”
Witherspoon’s celebrity fans, such as Ice Cube, Regina King and Marlon Wayans, grieved his death, too. They remembered him as a “comedic inspiration” and as the “funniest sweetest wisest humblest loving man.”
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