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Tommy 'Tiny' Lister, who played Deebo in 'Friday,' dies

Tommy Lister started his career as a wrestler and went on to star in 'Friday,' 'The Fifth Element' and 'The Dark Knight.'

LOS ANGELES — Tommy “Tiny” Lister, a former wrestler who was known for his Deebo character in the “Friday” films, has died. He was 62.

Lister's manager, Cindy Cowan, said Lister was found unconscious in his home in Marina Del Rey, California, on Thursday afternoon. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Cowan said Lister was diagnosed with COVID-19 earlier this year. She said the actor overcame the virus, but he became sick about a week ago and recently had trouble breathing.

The cause of death has not been released, and the coroner's office is investigating.

“He was a gentle giant,” Cowan said. “He had a smile as broad as you could imagine. He’s going to be missed by so many. We’re all devastated.”

Credit: John Salangsang/Invision/AP
FILE - In this Monday, Aug. 10, 2015 file photo, Tommy 'Tiny' Lister greets fans as he arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of "Straight Outta Compton" at the Microsoft Theater. (Photo by John Salangsang/Invision/AP, File)

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Lister started his career as a wrestler, standing 6-foot-5 with broad shoulders at about 275 pounds. His early roles included HBO football series “1st & Ten” along with appearances in “Beverly Hills Cop II,” which starred Eddie Murphy, and “No Holds Barred,” the 1989 film where his character Zeus challenged Hulk Hogan in a wrestling match.

However, Lister’s most notable role came in the 1995 film “Friday” and its sequel five years later. He portrayed the role of Deebo, a felon who was known as the neighborhood bully that terrorized his neighbors with intimidation and fear. His character was known for his infamous line “Get knocked out like your father used to.”

Lister also appeared in “The Fifth Element," “The Dark Knight" and “Austin Powers in Goldmember."

“RIP Tiny “Deebo” Lister,” Ice Cube said Thursday night on Instagram. “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.”

The death was first reported by celebrity website TMZ.