‘Friday’ Actor, Tommy ‘Tiny’ Lister, Passed Away at 62; Cause Revealed

The cause of death for Lister, who suddenly passed away in his California home, was just released.

According to autopsy reports obtained by TMZ, Lister died of hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease commonly known as heart disease.

At the time of his death, the L.A. County Medical Examiner said the 62-year-old actor had COVID-19, but that is not what caused his death.

TMZ reported that the L.A. County Medical Examiner said a nasal swab came back positive for COVID-19 and noted that Lister had fluid in his chest when he died. Additionally, he had an enlarged heart with high blood pressure, poor circulation in his legs, and coronary artery disease.


Originally, Lister’s manager said that she believed Lister died as a result of COVID-19, which he had contracted months ago.

She said he recently started to exhibit symptoms of the illness once again.

“He was a wonderful guy with a heart of gold. Everyone loved him. A real gentle giant,” Cowan said, “We’re all devastated.”

As a result of his talent to appear menacing on film and his ability to turn it on and off, Tiny has carved out a weird, remarkable career — 30 years long, 176 acting credits in all, with work alongside icons like Marlon Brando, Tupac Shakur, Bruce Willis, Hulk Hogan, and even Michael Jackson.

He was also a professional wrestler in World Championship Wrestling under the name Z-Gangsta. He even wrestled Hulk Hogan in the World Wrestling Federation after appearing as Zeus in 1989’s “No Holds Barred.”

Lister was fondly remembered for playing the neighborhood bully, Deebo, in the 1995 cult-classic “Friday” and appeared in the sequel “Next Friday.”

His other appearances include playing a prisoner in “The Dark Knight,” and the bail agent in “Jackie Brown,” as well as roles in “The Players Club,” Ice Cube’s directing debut and Mario Van Peeble’s “Posse.”

He had a supporting role in “Zootopia” as the voice of the fennec fox, in Adam Sandler’s “Little Nicky” as Nicky’s brother Cassius, and in “Austin Powers in Goldmember.” In “The Fifth Element,” he played the Galactic President.

In the pilot of “Star Trek: Enterprise,” he played Klaang, the first Klingon to make contact with humans. Also on television, he appeared as Mr. Matlock’s bodyguard in “Matlock” and on “In the Heat of the Night.”

Lister appeared in a number of music videos such as French Montana, 50 Cent, Sublime, Ice Cube, Chamillionaire and Young Bleed, just to name a few.

The 6 foot 5 inch Lister grew up in Compton, Calif. and won the national shot put title in college, briefly playing football before deciding to become an actor.

He was blind in one eye as a result of being born with a detached and deformed retina.

Lister was once ashamed of his right eye, trying to hide it when he was younger by wearing tinted glasses. He even cursed God as being the cause of his eye. Then one day he stopped hiding and took off the shades. “I started doing these movies and God said, ‘You thought it was a curse. It was a blessing,’” he says. “[My eye] became my trademark in Hollywood.”

Upon changing his mindset and outlook about life, Lister became a born-again Christian.

“I thought to reach your full potential as a man, you need to have the spirit of Jesus Christ within you to step into your purpose and destiny. You can’t just go around saying that you’re from your mother’s womb.

What amazed me about Jesus Christ was that this cat was so gangster. He cheated death. Doing something ‘gangsta’ growing up in my hood meant that you were able to do something that nobody else was capable of. Jesus cheated death. That’s the ultimate form of being gangsta, so I had to follow Him.”

“Another thing that amazed me was that God said ‘let there be light.’ In the beginning, He said, ‘let there be light,’ but on the fourth day, he created the sun. So God was out there working in the light without the sun. Now, what’s more gangsta than that?!”

Rest well, Tiny.

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