Ja'net Dubois reportedly died in her sleep at her home in Glendale, California

By Robyn Merrett
February 18, 2020 08:38 PM
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Ja'net Du Bois
Credit: David Livingston/Getty

Actress Ja’net DuBois has died. She was 74.

The Glendale Police Department tells PEOPLE, officers responded to a call regarding DuBois “not breathing” late Monday. Officials later determined that DuBois was deceased.

Glendale Police Sgt. Dan Stubbs told the Associated Press that DuBois appeared to have died of natural causes and there is no ongoing investigation into her death.

According to TMZ, who was first to report the news, DuBois died in her sleep at her home.

DuBois’ friend and former Good Times costar Bernadette Stanis told the Associated Press she learned of the star’s death on Tuesday from DuBois’ daughter.

“She used to keep us laughing all the time,” Stanis told AP. “She was very, very talented. If she wasn’t singing… she was creating a character to make us laugh.”

A rep for DuBois did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

Ja'net Du Bois
Ja’net DuBois and Janet Jackson on Good Times

DuBois is best known for her role as Willona Woods in Good Times. Woods was a close family friend and neighbor to the Evans Family and was the adopted mother of Penny Gordon Woods, who was played by Janet Jackson.

DuBois’ character was known for being independent, generous and always up for fun.

The show followed Florida and James Evans as they raised their children in a Chicago housing project. The series first aired in February 1974 and ended after six seasons in 1980.

In addition to her role in Good Times, DuBois appeared in a number of television series including The Love Boat, The Facts of Life, Beverly Hills, 90210, ER and The PJs as Mrs. Avery.

DuBois’ Hollywood career landed her a TV Land Impact Icon Award for Good Times in 2006 and an Emmy Award for outstanding voice-over performance for The PJs.

She also famously sang and co-wrote The Jeffersons theme song “Movin’ On Up.”

Born in Brooklyn, New York, DuBois began her career on Broadway before transitioning into TV.

DuBois is survived by her three children Rani, Yovanne and Burghardt DuBois. Her son Raj Kristo Gupta died in 1987 after a three-year battle with cancer, according to EW.

Since news of her death broke, celebrities and fans have paid tribute to the late star on Twitter.

“I am so very saddened to hear my longtime friend Ja’Net DuBois has passed away. I saw first hand how she broke stereotypes and changed the landscape for Black women in entertainment,” Jackson wrote on Instagram alongside a slideshow of photos of her and DuBois.

“I’m grateful in recent years I had a chance to see her and create more lasting memories. I pray for comfort for all her family and friends. Thank you Ja’Net, I’ll miss you. ?” Jackson added.

“Devastated to hear of the sudden passing of the iconic Ja’Net Dubois. We all cherished her as the beloved Willona on #GoodTimes. Got to work with her on Hanging with Mr. Cooper. I followed her around like a puppy dog. She shared so much wisdom. I loved and will miss her dearly,” Holly Robinson Peete tweeted alongside a series of photos, which includes a shot of her with Dubois.

“What a joy to have met Ja’Net Dubois, who became famous playing the role of Willona Woods on the hit 70s sitcom Good Times… Thank you for keeping this latch key kid entertained… condolences to her children #rip,” Loni Love wrote on Twitter.

“Sadly, we have lost another legend. #RIP to the lovely #JanetDubois. Her smile and laugh were infectious,” comedian DL Hughley tweeted.