Tyler Perry, Joe Biden, Jamie Foxx and More Mourn Death of Civil Rights Icon Rev. Joseph Lowery

Benjamin VanHoose

Rev. Joseph Lowery, a prominent figure in the civil rights movement who worked closely with Martin Luther King Jr., died at age 98, multiple outlets report.

On Friday, Lowery died at his Atlanta home, according to The New York Times. He died of natural causes, a family representative told CNN.

Bernice King, the youngest child of MLK Jr., shared a tribute to Lowery on Friday, tweeting a photo of herself with the activist, whom she called Uncle Joe.

“It’s hard to imagine a world or an Atlanta without Reverend #JosephLowery,” she wrote. “I’m grateful for a life well-lived and for its influence on mine. I’ll miss you, Uncle Joe. You finally made it up to see Aunt Evelyn again.” Lowery’s wife of 65 years, Evelyn, died in 2013.

More stars reacted to the news of Lowery’s death, including Jamie Foxx, who wrote on Instagram that “one of our great heroes has passed.”

“98 years of service and dedication to civil rights. To us,” the Just Mercy actor, 52, continued. “He endured a tremendous amount of racial bias and inequalities #josephlowery R.I.P.

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Shutterstock Rev. Joseph Lowery and President Barack Obama in 2009

In 2009, then-President Barack Obama honored Lowery with the Medal of Freedom. Billie Jean King, Stephen Hawking and Harvey Milk were given the distinction that year as well.

Tyler Perry shared a heartfelt tribute to Lowery on Saturday, writing on Instagram that he was “saddened” by the news, sharing personal photos of when he met the civil rights leader.

“As I was going through some of my personal photos I came across a few that I don’t usually make public, but this one said it all,” wrote Perry, 50. “This and the two other pictures were taken in 2012 at my old studio when President Barack Obama, a sitting president, bowed to the greatness of the man who stood before both of us! Presidential humility at its best.”

The filmmaker added that Lowery “helped move this country to a better place.”

“We should all be grateful for his incredible work through the civil rights movement all the way up until his passing. The man was amazing, loving, kind, funny, a truth teller and a healer,” Perry continued. “I will miss his incredible jokes, quick wit, and him telling me about how much he enjoyed the twists, turns, and laughs in my shows.”

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Getty Images Joseph Lowery (center) in 1982

Former Vice President Joe Biden also reacted to news of Lowery’s passing,

“Last night, the great Rev. Joseph E. Lowery passed away, leaving an indelible mark on our country’s history towards progress,” Biden, 77, tweeted. “He never once wavered in his spirit and in the resolve to end injustice — wherever he saw it. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”