'Friday' Star Tommy 'Tiny' Lister Found Dead After Showing COVID-19 Symptoms

The wrestler-turned-actor, who was also known for his roles in 'The Fifth Element' and 'The Dark Knight', was found responsive at his apartment after he didn't return calls.

AceShowbiz - Hollywood is in mourning again. Tommy Lister a.k.a. Tiny, who was best known for playing the neighborhood bully Deebo in 1995's film "Friday" and its 2000 sequel, has passed away at 62 years old. He was found dead on Thursday, December 10 after experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

Tommy was found unresponsive at his apartment in Marina Del Rey, California when deputies performed a welfare check. A release from The L.A. County Sheriff's Department, obtained by TMZ, says that friends and business associates of the actor became worried on Thursday when he didn't return call since Wednesday night.

Law enforcement sources got a call to Tommy's apartment just before 3 P.M. When they arrived, they found him already unconscious. Tommy was not transported to the hospital, as he was pronounced dead on the scene. Cops believe that he died of natural causes, but an autopsy will be performed to determine an official cause of death.

Tommy's manager Cindy Cowan tells PEOPLE that while the actor had not tested positive for the novel coronavirus prior to his death, he exhibited "COVID symptoms" for a week. "He was just really complaining, but he was too weak to go to the doctor," she says.

Tommy was scheduled to work on a movie over the weekend, but he had to cancel on Friday because of his illness. She remembers the actor, "He was a gentle giant and one-of-a-kind. A man that's like been a brother to me for 20 years."

Following Tommy's death, WWE released a statement to pay tribute. "WWE is saddened to learn that Tom 'Tiny' Lister, known as Zeus to the WWE Universe, passed away today at age 62," read a statement posted on the company's official Instagram page. It added, "WWE extends its condolences to Lister's family, friends and fans."

Tommy was an occasional professional wrestler and had two short professional wrestling stints, wrestling Hulk Hogan in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) after appearing as Zeus in the 1989 movie "No Holds Barred" and resuming the feud as Z-Gangsta in 1996 for World Championship Wrestling (WCW).

Tommy's death is also mourned by rapper-turned-actor Ice Cube. "RIP Tiny 'Deebo' Lister," he wrote on his own Instagram page along with a picture of the late star. "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."

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