Thomas Mykal Ford, who starred on five seasons of Martin Lawrence's Martin sitcom, died late Wednesday afternoon, his agent, Joy Pervis, told the The Hollywood Reporter. He was 52.
Ford's family released a statement: "It is with great sadness that we announce the untimely passing of our beloved son, father, brother, husband, and friend Tommy Mykal Ford. On behalf of the family, we would like to thank everyone for their love, support and prayers. Funeral arrangements will be forthcoming. Please respect the privacy of the Ford family during our time of grief."
After the news broke, Lawrence told THR, "Tommy was not only a great costar, but he was a great man and friend. He always brought with him his spirituality, a positive attitude and so much joy. I am sad the world lost a great talent and that I lost a wonderful friend. God bless him and his family."
To all family and friends of Tommy Ford. We would like to inform everyone that our brother passed away today October 12, 2016 surrounded by his loving family. Please keep his family in your prayers as they go through this challenging time. He was so dearly loved by so many and for that lets all be grateful for a life well served.
A photo posted by Thomas Mikal Ford (@bigtommyford) on Oct 12, 2016 at 3:24pm PDT
The actor, best known as Tommy Ford, joined the Fox sitcom in 1992, playing sidekick Tommy Strawn in the comedy for more than 100 episodes. Following the series, he nabbed a role on Fox drama series New York Undercover as Lt. Malcolm Barker and on UPN's The Parkers as Mel Parker.
Prior to his career-making turn on the Lawrence series, Ford appeared on MacGyver, Living Single, The Flash, Law & Order and the TV version of Uncle Buck.
Ford's career in film, television and theater spanned more than two decades. His film appearances through the years include Harlem Nights with Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor, Night and the City with Robert De Niro and Class Act with Kid 'n Play.
Recently, he branched out as a motivational speaker.
Word of his death spread quickly, flooding social media with tributes from fans and celebrities, which led to his name trending worldwide on Twitter.
Read more: Hollywood's Notable Deaths of 2016
My heart is heavy with the loss of my brother @BigTommyFord May he Rest In Peace
- Martin Lawrence (@realmartymar) October 13, 2016
This is terrible news, man. #RIP https://t.co/5LMMU2UpPB
- Steve Harvey (@IAmSteveHarvey) October 12, 2016
This is really sad. Way too young. RIP Tommy. https://t.co/VtFm6WtPAo
- Larry Wilmore (@larrywilmore) October 12, 2016
Today I received some sad news that I have lost my brother and cast member #tommyford We bonded… https://t.co/BxCjqzH1T6
- BILL BELLAMY (@BILLBELLAMY) October 12, 2016
So sad to hear the news that we lost a great one. Sleep in peace brother #MikalFord AKA #Tommy… https://t.co/MNLZNRFB6F
- Salt N Pepa (@TheSaltNPepa) October 12, 2016
damn tommy. next to coming to america, i can't think of another single pop culture franchise i've referenced more in my life. thank you bro https://t.co/WORljUqi6A
- Questlove Gomez (@questlove) October 12, 2016
My condolences to the family of Thomas Mikel Ford. "Tommy" was an extremely funny & talented man. May he rest in power.
- Jackée Harry (@JackeeHarry) October 12, 2016
RIP Tommy Ford. Always had a smile on his face.
- Gary Owen (@garyowencomedy) October 12, 2016
Noooooooooo.....! Not Tommy. https://t.co/rbEYSZfI0B
- Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) October 12, 2016
Tommy Ford has transitioned to an ancestor #RestinPower https://t.co/NX4aCVjmB0
- Tariq Nasheed (@tariqnasheed) October 12, 2016
Rest n Peace Tommy Ford. Your spirit will be missed.
- David Alan Grier (@davidalangrier) October 12, 2016
There's not a episode of Martin I don't know!! I'm saddened to just hear about Tommymy prayers go out 2 his family & friends.. wow
- Missy Elliott (@MissyElliott) October 13, 2016
#RIPTommy Thank you for the joy, the smiles and the laughs. #RentEmSpoons
- MC HAMMER (@MCHammer) October 13, 2016