UPDATED: 7:00 p.m. ET, Sept. 20
Actor and comedian Anthony “AJ” Johnson has reportedly died at the age of 56. According to HipHopWired, Johnson was found lifeless in a Los Angeles store in early September. A family member reportedly discovered Johnson.
The actor who was widely known for his role on the “Friday” franchise of movies was rushed to the hospital but pronounced dead shortly after. There was no official cause of death immediately released. Unverified reports suggested Johnson died from a heart attack but there was no immediate confirmation.
Fans took to social media to try to make some sense of the tragic loss, but there were more questions than answers as news of his death broke.
A GoFundMe page created by his wife Lexis Jones Mason was created early Monday morning to raise money for Johnson’s home going service and to support his children and grandchildren.
“We want to honor him the way he deserves,” the GoFundMe says in part.
LyNea Bell, a spokesperson for BH Talent which is the agency that represented Johnson, told Variety Magazine,
“He has left with us amazing memories of his laughter, dynamic acting skills, but most of all his enormous personality and heart of gold. We will be in constant prayer for his entire family including his wife Lexis, three children, brother Edward ‘Peanut’ Smith, sister Sheila, and lifetime manager and friend Mike D. Please give them the time they need to process and grieve such a huge loss.”
Johnson was born May 5, 1965, in Compton, California.
He took up acting at a young age and in 1982 worked on the movie “Puss In Boots.” He would later star in “House Party,” “Menace II Society” and “Lethal Weapon 3.”
His career would continue to blossom as he appeared in more than 50 films and TV shows, thriving in the ’90s. He has also starred in some movies that have garnered cult classic status in the Black community, including “The Players Club” and “I Got the Hook Up.”
HipHopWired reported that “Johnson continued to work in standup comedy over the years and was still active as an actor well into the 21st Century.”
His friends took to social media to show their respects.
This is a developing story that will be updated as additional information becomes available.