Jas Waters, best known for her writing work on This is Us, has died aged 39.
The official Twitter account for the US comedy-drama confirmed the news, praising the writer as a “brilliant storyteller and a force of nature”. No cause of death was given.
In a separate statement, Dan Fogelman, creator of This is Us, added: “Jas was absolutely brilliant and had so many stories still to tell. She made an indelible mark on our show and my heart breaks for her loved ones.”
Mandy Moore, who plays Rebecca Pearson on the show, paid tribute on Twitter, saying: ”Sending love and light to @JasFly’s family and loved ones.”
The entire #ThisIsUs family was devastated to learn of Jas Waters passing. In our time together, Jas left her mark on us and ALL over the show. She was a brilliant storyteller and a force of nature. We send our deepest sympathies to her loved ones. She was one of us. RIP @JasFly. pic.twitter.com/cmrh2OO8of
— ThisIsUsWriters (@ThisIsUsWriters) June 10, 2020
Waters was part of This is Us’s core of black writing staff. 30 per cent of the show’s writers are BAME, high above the US industry standard of 5 per cent.
Alongside her work on This is Us, Waters also penned scripts for The Breaks and Comedy Central’s Hood Adjacent with James Davis. She also held a story credit on the 2019 film What Men Want. Waters recently worked on comedy-drama Kidding, starring Jim Carrey.
Kidding creator Dave Holstein posted: “Jas was a one of a kind voice and an integral part of our writing team on Kidding. This is a devastating loss for those who knew her and lived in her light.
“One of my favourite lines of hers is resonating especially loud with me today:’ Our scars do not mean we are broken. They are proof we are healed.’”
Opening up in 2018 about her role on Kidding, Waters told Shadow and Act: “[Black writers who don’t specifically write Black content] are not seen as really working toward the cause, because they’re not telling our stories. But [people] don’t realize what my job actually is.
“On Kidding, I’m the only Black writer and the only writer of colour, as far as the staffing level. So it’s my responsibility to write the show along with everyone else and to ideate and track story, but it’s also my responsibility to make sure that like, “Wait a minute. Why is everyone in this scene white?”
“My fight is still the same fight, and I don’t have anyone who looks like me fighting in the room. I’m fighting alone, but I’m still fighting.”
Speaking about her road into the industry, she added: “I never had a traditional life; I never had a safe, cookie-cutter, predictable, affirming life. From the moment I got here, the rules didn’t apply to me.”