Police suggested Avant may have been targeted.
“I don’t think it’s a random attack, but I can’t speculate on that right now,” Beverly Hills Police Department (BHPD) Chief Mark Stainbrook said at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon.
The suspect or suspects are at large and the motive is still unknown, Stainbrook said. An investigation is ongoing.
Stainbrook also read a statement shared by the Avant family.
“Jacqueline was an amazing woman, wife, mother, philanthropist, and a 55-year resident of Beverly Hills, who has made an immeasurable positive contribution and impact on the arts community,” said Stainbrook. “She will be missed by her family, friends, and all of the people she has helped throughout her amazing life.”
The Avants married in 1967 and had two children together. Clarence Avant was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year. He was the subject of the 2019 documentary “The Black Godfather,” which looked at his political influence, musical legacy and work with musicians like Bill Withers and Babyface.
After news of her death, leaders in the Los Angeles community paid tribute to Avant.
“I’m heartbroken by this morning’s news of the tragic and shocking murder of Mrs. Jacqueline Avant,” Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-CA) said in a statement. “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.”
“Cookie and I are absolutely devastated at the loss of one of our closest friends Jackie Avant,” Magic Johnson tweeted. “This is the saddest day in our lives.”
CNN’s Sarah Moon contributed to this story.