"He was a gentle giant and one-of-a-kind," the actor's manager Cindy Cowan tells PEOPLE

By Gabrielle Chung and Tim McGovern
December 10, 2020 10:32 PM
Advertisement
Tommy "Tiny" Lister
| Credit: Jeff Vespa/Getty Images

Tommy "Tiny" Lister, best known for his roles in The Dark Knight and the Friday film series, has died at the age of 62.

While he had not tested positive for the novel coronavirus prior to his death, Lister died on Thursday after exhibiting "COVID symptoms" for a week, his manager Cindy Cowan tells PEOPLE.

"He was a gentle giant and one-of-a-kind," she says. "A man that's like been a brother to me for 20 years."

The actor was scheduled to work on a movie over the weekend, but had canceled on Friday, according to Cowan.

"He was just really complaining, but he was too weak to go to the doctor," she says.

According to Cowan, a friend went to check up on Lister at his home after he didn't return their calls.

Lister was found unresponsive at his apartment in Marina Del Rey, California, according to TMZ, who was first to report the news. The outlet reported that Lister was pronounced dead at the scene.

A cause of death has not been determined.

Lister kicked off his film career in the 1980s, appearing in movies such as Runaway Train, Blue City and Beverly Hills Cop II.

In 1989, he appeared as a wrestler in World Wrestling Federation's movie No Holds Barred, which starred Hulk Hogan. Lister went on to wrestle in the World Championship Wrestling (WCW) under the name Z-Gangsta.

Lister broke out as a film actor in 1995, playing the part of Deebo, the neighborhood bully, in Friday. He reprised the role for its 2000 sequel, Next Friday.

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free weekly newsletter to get the biggest news of the week delivered to your inbox every Friday.

On the silver screen, Lister also had roles in The Dark Knight, Jackie BrownAustin Powers in Goldmember and The Fifth Element.

In addition to film, Lister appeared in numerous television series such as Matlock, Perfect Strangers, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Moesha and The Jamie Foxx Show.

Lister was also a gifted voice actor, with credits in The Cleveland Show and Zootopia.

He made cameos in music videos for artists like Michael Jackson, Ice Cube, 50 Cent, Chamillionaire, Iggy Azalea and Akon.

Ice Cube, who was also Lister's costar in Friday, wrote on Twitter after his death, "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."