"With the deepest grief 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," his family said in a statement .
Witherspoon survived by his wife, two sons and a "large family," the statement said.
"We are all in shock, please give us a little bit of privacy and we will celebrate his life and work together. John said, 'I'm no big deal,' but he was a lot of us."
He was perhaps the best known for playing the father of Ice Cube in the movie series Friday. The 1
"I'm devastated by the passing of John Witherspoon," wrote Ice Cube on Twitter. "Life won't be so much fun without it."
Witherspoon also plays dad, John "Pops" Williams, to the main characters of the sitcom "The Wayans Bros." and he was Spoon on NBC's Tracy Morgan. The actor also had roles in the films Boomerang and Vampire in Brooklyn, in which they both starred with Eddie Murphy.
"I am sad. Broken. Injured … still extremely grateful to God that I have to spend 5 years of my life working with one of the funniest, sweetest, wisest, most humble loving men," he wrote Marlon Wayans on Instagram, in tribute to his dad on TV. "Thank God for the many laughs we shared on and off the set.
The two worked together on "Friday" and the animated show "The Boondocks," which aired from 2005 to 2014 and offered satirical involvement to African-American culture and politics.
Witherspoon voiced "grandfather", one of the show's dishonest freaks.
Actress Marsha Warfield also paid tribute to the comic.