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Lou Gossett Jr Onstage At The Meditation Museum

Source: Howard Ruffner / Getty

Hollywood has lost another legend as actor Louis Gossett Jr. has passed away at the age of 87.

In a statement, the actor’s family revealed the news and asked to grieve privately.

“It is with our heartfelt regret to confirm our beloved father passed away this morning,” the statement read. “We would like to thank everyone for their condolences at this time. Please respect the family’s privacy during this difficult time.”

His cause of death has not been revealed, but his previous health issues included being diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2010, and he credited early detection for his swift recovery. Then, in 2020, amid the pandemic, he announced he’d even been hospitalized with COVID-19.

Gossett made history in the early 1980s when he became the first Black man to win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role as hard-nosed drill sergeant Emil Foley in the film An Officer and a Gentleman. But before that, he was on the radar for playing Fiddler, an elderly slave in the iconic TV miniseries, Roots, back in 1977 for which he won the Outstanding Lead Actor for a Single Appearance in a Drama or Comedy Series Emmy.

His career spanned over six decades, acting in hit movies and shows like The Principal, The Punisher, Toy Soldiers, The Jeffersons, Stargate SG-1 and Boardwalk Empire.

Alongside his family’s statement, his cousin spoke about his ability to connect with anyone despite his success.

“Never mind the awards, never mind the glitz and glamor, the Rolls-Royces and the big houses in Malibu. It’s about the humanity of the people that he stood for,” his cousin said.

See how social media is praising the award-winning actor’s career and life below.