Tyler Perry is pleading for the black community to take the threat of COVID-19 seriously following the passing of his longtime hairstylist.

The filmmaker announced the passing of Charles Gregory, who contracted the novel coronavirus, sending his condolences to Gregory’s family and using the tragedy to send an important message.

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“The man was warm, loving and hilarious. We all loved to see him coming and hear his laughter,” Perry, 50, wrote. “Charles lost his battle with COVID-19 today. It saddens me to think of him dying this way. My sincerest prayers are with his family.”

He then turned his attention to the greater public.

“While everyone can contract this virus it is black people who are dying from it in much larger numbers. This thing is real, black people,” Perry continued. “I heard a black person say, ‘Black people don’t get it.’ That is a lie! You can get it, and you will get it if we don’t do what we’re being told to do.”

“A 26-year-old black woman died the other day, a 44-year-old black man died the other day, not to mention the hundreds of people that are dying every few minutes,” he asserted. “Your age does not matter!! Your health does not matter. You could be totally healthy, and you could die!”

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Perry assured his statement came from a place of love and concern.

“I love us all too much to watch us die on the vine because we are the last to know and we are not taking this pandemic seriously,” Perry concluded. “If you won’t do it for yourself, do it for someone you love, and for those who love you.”