‘Devastating’: Tributes pour in for Jacqueline Avant after her shooting death in Beverly Hills

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Tributes poured in Wednesday following news of the shooting death of 81-year-old Los Angeles philanthropist Jacqueline Avant, the wife of music legend Clarence Avant, in Beverly Hills.

The shooting was reported around 2:23 a.m. Wednesday in the 1100 block of Maytor Place, where officers arrived to find Jacqueline Avant suffering from a gunshot wound. She was taken to a local hospital, but did not survive, police said.

The shooter was no longer at the scene when officers arrived at the Beverly Hills home. While the incident initially appeared to be a home invasion robbery, Beverly Hills Police Chief Mark Stainbrook said it was too early to determine what the motive was.

The Avants, who married in 1967, are parents to two children, including film producer and former U.S. ambassador Nicole Avant, who is married to Netflix Co-CEO Ted Sarandos.

“The Entire Avant and Sarandos families wish to thank everyone for their outpouring of love, support and heartfelt condolences for Jacqueline Avant,” the families said in a statement. “Jacqueline was an amazing woman, wife, mother and philanthropist and a 55 year resident of Beverly Hills who has made an immeasurable positive impact on the arts community. She will be missed by her family, friends and all of the people she has helped throughout her amazing life.”

Former President Bill Clinton paid tribute to Avant on Twitter.

“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,” Clinton wrote. “She inspired admiration, respect & affection in everyone who knew her. We are heartbroken. She will be deeply missed.”

Jacqueline Avant was involved in philanthropic work, previously serving as president of the Neighbors of Watts, a support group for the South Central Community Child Care Center, and was on the board of directors of the International Student Center at UCLA, according to IMDB.

“The Avant family’s contribution to the world of entertainment and to better communities across Los Angeles are unmatched. There are no words to express our profound sorrow for this immense loss for Jacqueline’s husband, Clarence, their children, and the entire Avant family,“ Beverly Hills Police Chief Mark Stainbrook said in a news conference.

U.S. Rep. Karen Bass released a statement saying she was heartbroken by news of the killing.

“Mrs. Avant was a force of compassion and empowerment locally and nationally for decades, as well as a model of service and giving back to those who needed it most. The devastating events of last night along with recent reports of brazen crime in Los Angeles rupture the expectation of safety we have for our friends, families and fellow Angelenos,” said Bass, who is running for Los Angeles mayor.

Basketball star Earvin “Magic” Johnson tweeted that he and his wife, Cookie Johnson, were “devastated” by the news.

“Cookie and I are absolutely devastated at the loss of one of our closest friends Jackie Avant,” he wrote “She was senselessly murdered last night in a home invasion”

Entrepreneur Danny J. Bakewell Sr., Los Angeles Sentinel owner, a lifelong friend to the Avant Family, also released a statement after the shooting.

“I cannot express how overwhelmingly pained I am at the loss of such a beautiful person as Jackie Avant. For her to be killed in such a senseless way is unfathomable,” the statement read. “There are no human beings more kind and generous than Clarence and Jackie, and for their home and their lives to be violated in such a violent manner is unconscionable. My thoughts and prayers go out to Clarence, Nicole and Alex as we all work to get through this most difficult time.” 

Songwriter Diane Warren also tweeted about Avant’s death, saying she was heartbroken, disgusted and angry.

“We all loved Jackie and are all horrified by this senseless and heinous act of violence,” Warren wrote.

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