Tommy “Tiny” Lister Jr., known for playing neighborhood bully Deebo in the “Friday” franchise, has passed away at age 62.
On Thursday, law enforcement sources told TMZ that officials were called to the actor’s Marina Del Rey apartment just before 3 p.m. in response to an unconscious male.
When authorities arrived, Lister was pronounced dead at the scene.
Later that day, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department released a statement saying friends and business associates became worried about Lister when they hadn’t heard from him since Wednesday night.
On Friday, Lister’s manager Cindy Cowan told CNN that Lister began experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 last week.
Sadly, Cowan says Lister’s ailments “got really bad, really quick,” as he could not breathe and felt very weak.
Though Lister was supposed to shoot a new movie last week, Cowan says he canceled because of health issues.
“Tiny doesn’t miss movies; he took it very seriously,” she said.
Cowan also says Lister canceled plans for a panel scheduled Wednesday for a TV festival.
In a statement, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said, “Mr. Lister’s death appears to be of natural causes but will ultimately be determined by the Office of Medical Examiner-Coroner.” The statement also says Lister’s death is still under investigation.
In addition to the “Friday” film series, Lister also appeared in movies such as “The Fifth Element” and “Jackie Brown.”
The character actor — who was affectionately known as “Tiny” despite his 6-foot-5 frame — also had two short professional wrestling stints, and appeared in the 1989 movie “No Holds Barred” with Hulk Hogan.
On Thursday, Lister’s “Friday” co-star Ice Cube paid tribute to him on social media.
“America’s favorite bully was a born entertainer who would pop into character at the drop of a hat terrifying people on and off camera,” Ice Cube wrote. “Followed by a big smile and laugh. Thank you for being a good dude at heart. I miss you already.”
RIP Tiny “Deebo” Lister. America’s favorite bully was a born entertainer who would pop into character at the drop of a hat terrifying people on and off camera. Followed by a big smile and laugh. Thank you for being a good dude at heart. I miss you already. pic.twitter.com/jIl8yEZU9c— Ice Cube (@icecube) December 11, 2020
Our condolences go out to Tommy’s family and loved ones for their loss.