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Actor and beloved comedian John Witherspoon passed away suddenly at his Sherman Oaks, California home on Tuesday, Oct. 29. He was 77.

Witherspoon's family broke the sad news in a press statement to Deadline.com:

"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."

The family did not reveal Witherspoon's cause of death.

The star of the hit comedy movie franchise Friday launched his standup comedy routines in the 1970s. He began his acting career in The Jazz Singer in 1980. His movie roles included memorable parts in Hollywood Shuffle, Boomerang, Vampire in Brooklyn, The Ladies Man and Fakin' Da Funk.

Witherspoon's son, John David Witherspoon, shared an emotional tribute to his dad on Twitter:

"So… my Dad died today & honestly I'm not sure how to feel. I'm sad, but I'm also happy 4 all the great times we had together. We'd roast each other like homes more than Father & Son, and I really liked that. He was my best friend & idol. Love U Dad… I'll miss u."

The comedian's colleagues and fans also paid tribute to him on social media.