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The world has lost a true African-American icon. Richard Roundtree, star of the seminal Blaxploitation film Shaft, has passed away. He was 81.
Reportedly, Roundtree died on Tuesday afternoon (Oct. 24) from pancreatic cancer. The renowned actor’s longtime manager, Patrick McMinn, confirmed his death.
“Richard’s work and career served as a turning point for African American leading men in film,” said McMinn in a statement. “The impact he had on the industry cannot be overstated.”
To say that Roundtree was influential would be a massive understatement. In 1971 he starred as John Shaft, the titular lead character of Gordon Park’s landmark film which is credited with launching the Blaxploitation genre. Sporting an afro and undeniable swagger, Shaft became the prototype of urban, effortless cool that was otherwise previously unseen on the movie screen.
Richard Roundtree is survived by four daughters, Nicole, Tayler, Morgan and Kelli Roundtree, and a son, James. Fans, Hollywood stars, musicians, pro athletes and more quickly took to Twitter to salute the legend, which we have assembple below.
Rest in powerful peace Richard Roundtree, he was bad mother [shut your mouth].