Tyler Perry‘s mother, Willie Maxine Perry, passed away Tuesday at the age of 64, the Associated Press reports. Tyler announced the news of his mother’s death on his Web site and thanked fans for their prayers.

Tyler did not say what the cause of Willie’s death was or where she passed away.

Tyler said in a 2006 interview, quoted by The Atlantic Journal-Constitution, that his mother was the basis for his popular character, Madea.

The newspaper said Maxine Perry worked most of her life as preschool teacher at the New Orleans Jewish Community Center.

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