Jason David Frank, the actor who famously played Tommy Oliver (aka the Green Ranger) in the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers television series, passed away in Texas this weekend at the age of 49.
A representative for the actor confirmed the unfortunate news to SYFY WIRE and asked that the public "respect the privacy of his family and friends during this horrible time as we come to terms with the loss of such a wonderful human being. He loved his family, friends and fans very much. He will be truly missed." TMZ — which was among the first outlets to break the story — alleges the actor's death was ruled a suicide. Other outlets, however, report that a cause was not made immediately clear.
"It's so sad to lose another member of our Ranger family," Frank's Mighty Morphin co-star Walter Emmanuel Jones (Zack Taylor/the Black Ranger) said in a statement to People. "Jason was one of the biggest pranksters on the show. He had a wild sense of humor. We had our share of ups and downs, but I stayed consistent about being an ear if he needed one. My prayers go out to his family and all that will miss him. May he rest in Power."
Karan Ashley, who portrayed Aisha Campbell/the second Yellow Ranger, mourned Frank on her Instagram page. "Jay you finally got me to shut up," she wrote. "Can you imagine me, of all people, at a loss for words? LOL... I know it's unheard of. Calm down and wipe that mischievous smirk off your face. It won't last long. All I can muster up is I love you. That just doesn't seem to be a big enough phrase. I promise when I get my act together, I will have a long and mushy speech that's all about you. You'll love it! Until then, I love you, I'm so very sad and I'm anxiously awaiting the day we meet again."
Frank, who also enjoyed a prolific background in mixed martial arts (he was an 8th Degree Black Belt), remained extremely proud of his involvement with the beloved TV show and always made an effort to meet with fans on a regular basis. "It brings them back to being eight again," he remarked during a one-on-one sit-down with SYFY WIRE at New York Comic Con in 2017. "You can tell when they're at Comic Con and they're in line, big guys come up and they're like, 'WOW! DUDE!' I call that the 'Wow Factor.' Every year it gets more 'Wow!'"
He loved the role so much, in fact, that he reprised Tommy for a number of subsequent television and video game projects over the years like Power Rangers Dino Thunder (2004), Power Rangers Megaforce (2014), Power Rangers HyperForce (2018), and Power Rangers Ninja Steel (2018), and Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid (2019).
"Without the love of the brand, there would be no brand," Frank said on SYFY WIRE's Live Stage at NYCC 2018 (see below for the full interview). "I'm an actor that realizes the fans are what makes the show. I keep saying that over and over. I don't feel like fans owe me, I feel like I owe the fans ... I think the Power Rangers franchise — there are so many things that we can do, so many audiences."
The actor is survived by his four children: Hunter, Jacob, Skye, and Jenna.