Friday star and comedian AJ Johnson has been found dead in Los Angeles at the age of 55.
Johnson had reportedly been found unresponsive in a shop earlier this month and rushed to hospital.
His representative, LyNea Bell, confirmed the news to Deadline in a statement: “The world of comedy has truly been shaken, again. Our BH Talent family is heartbroken about the loss of the iconic legend of stage and screen Mr Anthony “AJ” Johnson. He has left with us amazing memories of his laughter, dynamic acting skills, but most of all his enormous personality and heart of gold.”
Johnson was best known for his performance as the petty thief Ezal in the cult buddy comedy Friday, which was written by Ice Cube and DJ Pooh.
Johnson also starred in Lethal Weapon 3, Menace II Society and House Party, and performed as a standup comedian.
His career received a big break in 1990 when he was cast in hit comedy House Party and as a result started performing standup around Los Angeles.
Another of his most prominent roles was in cult comedy The Players Club, which was directed by his Friday co-star, Ice Cube. The Players Club also stars a number of other prominent stars who have recently passed including Bernie Mac, Charlie Murphy, Tiny Lister and Michael Clarke Duncan.
Johnson also made several appearances in music videos, most prominently in Dr Dre’s “Dre Day” as a parody of Eazy-E.
His father was also a notable movie stuntman and co-founded the Black Stuntman’s Association.
A number of tributes have poured in from the entertainment world. Music producer, Swiff D tweeted that Johnson was: “Hands down one of the funniest dudes ever” whilst DJ First Class posted: “Damn, rest easy AJ “Ezel” Johnson,” alongside a photo of the actor.
RIP AJ Johnson (Ezell). Hands down one of the funniest dudes EVER. pic.twitter.com/nYR0vra4dc
— Swiff D ™ (@SwiffD) September 20, 2021
Damn, Rest Easy AJ “Ezel” Johnson 🙏🏾🕊 pic.twitter.com/c3UgEqF6eb
— DJ First Class™ 🏁 (@1DJFirstClass) September 20, 2021
Johnson is survived by his wife and three children.
No cause of death has been confirmed.