Will’s ex-wife, Sheree Fletcher, shared the news on Instagram this past Monday.
“We’re gonna miss you Daddio!” captioned Fletcher in the touching tribute. “You lived and played by your own rules…you truly were one of a kind! You instilled discipline, and a work ethic that has created a legacy in your honor!”
The picture, which can be viewed below, is of Will, Smith Sr. and Fletcher’s son Trey, who is now a 23 year old actor.
Will has yet to publicly comment on his father’s death. The actor has often spoken highly of him throughout the years, discussing how his father’s tough love shaped him into the person he is today.
“Dad was tough but not tyrannical,” Will told Essence in an interview. “He kept me in line. He’d get this look that said, ‘One more step, Will, and it’ll get ugly.’ He was an independent businessman—he set up refrigeration in supermarkets—and he always provided for us. He’s a steady and positive figure in my life.”
The 48 year old also once spoke about how his father encouraged his endeavors as a rap artist, with Reader’s Digest.
“I told my parents I wanted to rap. They said, ‘Rap?’ My mother graduated from Carnegie Mellon. She thought college was the only way. My father could kind of see doing something differently,” Will said. “We agreed that I would take a year making music, and if it did not work out, I would go to college. That year we won the first Grammy given to a rap artist.”
Smith Sr. worked as a refrigerator engineer in West Philadelphia. He and his wife Caroline Bright had four children, but divorced in 2000.
Okayplayer sends its condolences to Willard Carroll Smith Sr.’s family and friends.