BEVERLY HILLS (CBSLA) — Former President Bill Clinton, media mogul Tyler Perry, and Lakers icon Earvin “Magic” Johnson are among those mourning Jacqueline Avant, the wife of music legend Clarence Avant, who was killed in a home invasion robbery in Beverly Hills Wednesday.
Avant, 81, was fatally shot at about 2:30 a.m. in a home invasion robbery in the 1100 block of Maytor Place. Beverly Hills police say Avant died at a hospital.
Syndicated radio host Tavis Smiley and TV and movie producer Tyler Perry both asked the question that was on many minds upon hearing the news – “Who murders an 81 year old woman?”
This one hurts deep. Tragic & senseless violence. Who murders an 81 year old woman? Miss Jackie was the sweetest person you’d ever meet; just talking to her was pure joy. Class act. Pulling & praying for my friend and brother Clarence and the Avant family. pic.twitter.com/HOcGJBvipz
— Tavis Smiley (@tavissmiley) December 1, 2021
My heart breaks for Clarence and Nicole and all the Avant family. This world can be so cruel and cold!! I have no idea what kind of sub-human could shoot an 81 year old woman, and in her own home. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/bq6ApaN12a
— Tyler Perry (@tylerperry) December 1, 2021
Actress Viola Davis expressed shock and horror at the news.
“Where are we??!!! WHAT are we?!!!” she wrote, adding a praying hands and broken heart emoji.
So sorry for the Avant family. My heart goes out to you!!! OMG!!!! Where are we??!!! WHAT are we?!! 🙏🏿💔https://t.co/mhyGK4Nm3j
— Viola Davis (@violadavis) December 1, 2021
Avant may be best known for having been married to 90-year-old Clarence Avant – known as the “Godfather of Black Music” who was just inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in October — for 54 years. But she was a generous philanthropist in her own right, serving as president of the Neighbors of Watts, a support group focused on child care, and on the board of directors of UCLA’s International Student Center.
Johnson, the former Laker and Los Angeles business mogul, said Avant was the sweetest person one could ever meet.
“She had a beautiful soul, kind heart & always had a kind word for everybody. She was quiet, yet powerful, & very smart,” he wrote.
Jackie was the sweetest person you could ever meet. She had a beautiful soul, kind heart, & always had a kind word for everybody. She was quiet, yet powerful, & very smart. We are crying for Clarence, Nicole, & Alex’s loss. Our thoughts & prayers go out to the entire family. 🙏🏾
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) December 1, 2021
Rep. Karen Bass called Avant a “force of compassion and empowerment locally and nationally for decades, as well as a model of service and giving back to those who need it most.” She also called for those responsible to be held “fully accountable.”
Those responsible must be held fully accountable.
My thoughts are with Mr. Avant, Nicole and Ted, Alex and the rest of the Avant family as they mourn the loss of such a wonderful wife, mother and friend. 3/3
— Congressmember Bass (@RepKarenBass) December 1, 2021
Former President Clinton said Avant had been a dear friend to him and his wife, Hillary Clinton for 30 years.
“She inspired admiration, respect & affection in everyone who knew her,” he wrote. “We are heartbroken. She will be deeply missed.”
Jackie Avant was a wonderful woman, a great partner to Clarence and mother to Alex and Nicole, an active citizen & a dear friend to Hillary and me for 30 years. She inspired admiration, respect & affection in everyone who knew her. We are heartbroken. She will be deeply missed.
— Bill Clinton (@BillClinton) December 1, 2021
Avant is survived by her husband and two adult children, Alexander, and Nicole Avant, a former U.S. Ambassador to the Bahamas and wife of Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos.