(Credit: New Line Productions Inc)

The tributes roll in for 'Friday' actor John Witherspoon who has died age 77

The sad news has reached us this morning that the acclaimed actor John Witherspoon has died at the age of 77. The actor was revered for his comedic performances across a host of films but will be forever remembered for his role in the Friday trilogy.

The actor became an international star after working with Ice Cube on the hilarious film Friday in the role of Willie Jones. He later reprised the role for Next Friday and Friday After Next and was due to come back for the upcoming flick The Last Friday.

Having got his break doing stand up in the 1970s Witherspoon was known for his manipulation of his face and the no-nonsense tone. The actor is survived by his wife Angela and sons LD and Alexander.

Witherspoon’s family have released a statement: “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 a huge deal to us.”

A message on his Twitter page added: “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.”

A host of fans and celebrities have now paid tribute to the star including his Friday co-star Ice Cube, as well as Public Enemy’s Chuck D and actor Marlon Wayans.