Bill Cosby's 44-year-old daughter Ensa Cosby died of kidney disease Friday in Massachusetts, a spokesman for the comedian said Monday.
Spokesman Andrew Wyatt asked for prayers for the entertainer’s family and that they be given peace at this time. He didn't provide any other details.
Bill Cosby lost another of his five children in 1997 when his son Ennis, a graduate student at Columbia University, was fatally shot during a botched robbery attempt as he was changing a tire on his car in the Sepulveda Pass. A 22-year-old man was later convicted and sentence to life in prison without parole.
Ensa Cosby appeared on one episode of “The Cosby Show,” her father’s hit series that ran from 1984 to 1992.
Though normally quiet and uncomfortable in the public limelight, Ensa Cosby was an outspoken defender of her father, who was accused of sexual assault by more than 50 women and is facing retrial on charges that he drugged and molested a Temple University staffer in 2004.
“I've seen the accusations become more horrific and extreme with time and I have witnessed my father's reputation and legendary work be dismissed without any proof,” she said in a statement to a syndicated morning radio show.
“I strongly believe my father is innocent of the crimes alleged against him and I believe that racism has played a big role in all aspects of this scandal.”
Cosby is due in court next Monday for a pretrial hearing as his lawyers and prosecutors clash over how many other accusers can testify at his retrial.
In the wake of Ensa Cosby's death, Bill Cosby could ask to postpone the pretrial hearing or waive his right to be in court for it. Cosby's lead attorney, Tom Mesereau, did not immediately respond to messages.
“The Cosby Family thanks many people for their prayers for their beloved and beautiful Ensa, who recently died from renal disease,” the Cosby family said in a post on the comedian’s official Facebook page.