Erica Watson, a Chicago-area comedian and actor, died on February 27 at the age of 48 from COVID-19 complications, her family announced. Watson’s brother shared the news on Facebook on February 28, writing, “Friends and family, my sister Erica Watson passed away last night in Jamaica [due] to complications from Covid 19. We are not taking this easy. Please respect our privacy right now (no phone calls please) as we make arrangements to bring my sister home. Keep us in your prayers.”
The comedian and actor was living in Montego Bay, Jamaica, when she died just one day after her 48th birthday. According to her online bio, Watson was born and raised in Chicago and grew up in its Hyde Park neighborhood. She graduated from Kenwood High School and then attended Columbia College Chicago.
Watson was known for her roles in The Chi, Precious and Top Five and recently revealed that she wanted to focus on writing and directing moving forward, which was her “true passion.”
Watson Was Involved in Numerous Projects & Was Involved in the Chicago Performing Community
Watson was featured in numerous films, including Oscar-nominated Precious, Spike Lee’s ChiRaq, Top Five and Side Effects, according to her website bio. It states that Watson was also a Huffington Post blogger and was known as a frequent correspondent for the talk show “Windy City Live,” and “The Jam.”
In addition to her work in feature films, Watson was known for her role in Showtime’s The Chi, Chicago Fire and Empire. Her bio states that she was a “commentator and pundit for six Black Entertainment (BET) specials” and her acclaimed one-woman show “Fat Bitch!” was nominated for the 2010 Black Theater Alliance Award and toured the country.
In March 2020, Watson spoke with Plus Model Magazine about her upcoming projects, including her new podcast about dating called “Get in The Game” and a short film called “The Waiting Room.” She said, “Before I did stand-up comedy, I was writing and directing, but took a break to make folks laugh. Now I’m back on track to pursue my first love and true passion… writing and directing.”
She said she was also launching a media relations company, The Brainstorm, which would help small businesses and brands grow their exposure. She explained, “I’ve always loved to AMPLIFY amazing people and help them reach their customers and fans in a major way. Think of me as your brand’s best friend and biggest cheerleader!” According to Chicago Tribune, Watson was involved in the Chicago comedy and acting community and was a mentor to many up-and-coming performers.
Many of Watson’s Fans Posted Tributes to the Comedian & Actor After Her Death
After Watson’s brother broke the news of the actor’s death, many took to social media to share tributes and condolences. Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx wrote, “I’m sorry to hear about the passing of Erica Watson. Erica was a talented, bright light. With every conversation, she made you feel as if you had been friends for years, even if you had only met virtually. I send my prayers to her friends and family.”
Windy City LIVE’s account tweeted, “.@EricaFayeWatson was a part of our show from the beginning. We are gutted by her death. Please join us tomorrow to pay tribute to our friend.” Attorney and media personality Exavier Pope wrote, “We love you Erica Watson (@Miss_Poundcakes) A beautiful, bold, hilariously real, giving and loving soul who sought to lift everyone up around her. A true queen! RIP. COVID is taking out young people!”
Reporter Brandon Pope said, “I am heartbroken. COVID continues to exact a heavy toll. Can’t even fathom saying Erica Watson’s name in past tense. Such a warm, loving and fun spirit. And a woman who always put the community first. She’s brought smiles around the country for a long time. Rest well Queen.”