The patriarch of the Wayans family, Howell Wayans, has died at the age of 86.
Marlon Wayans shared the sad news in a series of Instagram posts on Saturday that also announced the sudden death of his friend and personal assistant to Floyd Mayweather. Marikit “Kitchie” Laurico died in a car accident on March 31 at the age of 49.
Wayans’ first heartfelt post noted that his father would be arriving in heaven around the same time as Laurico, and that he would get her past the Pearly Gates.
In a separate lengthier post, the comedian confirmed his father’s passing and attached a photo of Howell embracing his youngest son with a forehead kiss. Marlon called him a “legend” and thanked him for teaching him how to be a man.
“Thank you Pop for being of a Man to all your boys. I pray all young black boys can grow to be a Man like you,” Marlon wrote in the caption. “Baby boy loves you and If ever I need you I know exactly where to find you…in my Bible that now sits by bed Rest well. Kiss Ma for me.”
The post continued, “Tell her her babies miss her. I got two angels. I feel y’all lifting me already. If there’s a heaven i know you sitting in VIP sippin’ the best wine jesus can make…”
Marlon’s tribute gained over 215,000 likes and even more support and warm messages from other Hollywood entertainers and fans.
D.L. Hughley said, “love to you and the family. He was man and King among men. It’s evident in the legacy of FAMILY he raised amd cared for. Praying for you my friend.”
Essence Atkins wrote, “Love you for life Marlon! We, your village, are holding you and the entire Wayans family up in prayer and are here to walk with you on the journey ahead. Grateful to GOD for the legacy of your Mom and Dad that inspires so much love and laughter in this world; which desperately needs it.”
The exact date and circumstances of Mr. Wayans’ passing are not yet known. Actor and family friend Omar Epps also paid tribute to Mr. Wayans for being an influential father figure.
“Words can’t even describe how I’m feeling right now. This man was a GIANT amongst giants. Pop Wayans was a true father to me thru out my life. Always teaching me, giving me jewels that I walk with to this day,” wrote Epps on Instagram. “I love you Pop! Thank you for taking me under your wing as if I was one of your own.”
He added, “We’re all devastated, but yet somehow, you prepared us for this moment. I LOVE YOU!! #RIPPOPWAYANS Prayers up for the entire Wayans family!! I love ya’ll immeasurably!”
Howell lived and worked as a grocery store manager in New York City and was married to his late wife Elvira Wayans, a social worker. The couple went on to have 10 children, Dwayne, Keenen Ivory, Damon, Shawn, Marlon, Kim, Elvira, Vonnie, Nadia, and Diedre. Elvira, the family matriarch, passed away in 2020 at the age of 81.
Marlon announced her death on social media, saying, “Losing you shattered me into 1000 pieces. I’m putting myself back together piece by piece.”
Howell and Elvira’s children are all connected to or work in the entertainment industry. The first member of the famous family to enter the scene was Keenen Ivory Wayans. After small acting roles on sitcoms like “Cheers” and the film “Star 80,” he revolutionized television with his sketch comedy show “In Living Color.” It launched the careers of his sister, Kim, and his brothers Damon, Shawn, and later Marlon.
Like many in the Wayans family, Marlon is known for his standup comedy. TMZ reports he learned about his father’s passing hours before a show in Burbank, California, where he held two performances. He was informed of the news after the first show and went on to do the second, where he included a joke about his late mother.
Marlon reportedly shed tears on stage after the crowd gave him a standing ovation for making others laugh in the midst of his own tragedy.