Celebs

Former Disney star Lee Thompson Young commits suicide at 29

Aug. 19, 2013 at 2:41 PM ET

IMAGE: Lee Thompson Young
FilmMagic file
Lee Thompson Young.

Actor Lee Thompson Young, who starred in the Disney Channel children's series "The Famous Jett Jackson," has committed suicide at age 29, his manager said Monday. 

"It is with great sadness that I announce that Lee Thompson Young tragically took his own life this morning," manager Jonathan Baruch said in a statement. "Lee was more than just a brilliant young actor, he was a wonderful and gentle soul who will truly be missed. We ask that you please respect the privacy of his family and friends at this very difficult time."

A spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department said Young was found dead of a gunshot wound in his Los Angeles home on Monday.

When Young didn't show up for work on the TNT crime drama "Rizzoli & Isles," police were sent to Young's home, a source close to the show tells NBC. The LAPD confirmed that police discovered his body there shortly after 8 a.m. PT.

"We are all without the words to truly express our collective grief and profound sadness at the loss of such a sweet, bright light," "Rizzoli & Isles" showrunner Janet Tamaro tweeted on Monday. "We are broken-hearted."

In a joint statement, TNT, Warner Bros., which produces the show, and Tamaro expressed their sorrow: "Lee will be cherished and remembered by all who knew and loved him, both on- and offscreen, for his positive energy, infectious smile and soulful grace. We send our deepest condolences and thoughts to his family, to his friends and, most especially, to his beloved mother."

Actress Gabrielle Union also mourned Young on Twitter, tweeting, "I had the pleasure of working w/ #LeeThompsonYoung on Flash Forward & he was an extremely talented beautiful soul. My thoughts & prayers are with his loved ones."

Young starred on "Jett Jackson" from its 1998 pilot through the show's cancellation in 2001, and also played the role in a follow-up movie. The character of Jackson was a young actor who moved from Hollywood to a fictional small town in North Carolina to live with his father while continuing to film the television show upon which he played a teen spy. Young was nominated for two Young Artist lead actor awards for the role.

Young portrayed running back Chris Comer in the 2004 movie "Friday Night Lights." His other movie work included parts in "Akeelah and the Bee" and "The Hills Have Eyes 2." He also appeared on television shows, including "Smallville" and "FlashForward," as well as his regular role on "Rizzoli & Isles."

Young, a South Carolina native, was inspired to become an actor when he played Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in a play when he was just 10 years old, a biography provided by TNT stated.

On "Rizzoli & Isles," he played Detective Barry Frost, the computer-savvy but squeamish partner of title detective Jane Rizzoli, played by Angie Harmon. "Rizzoli & Isles" had planned to shoot the final episode of its fourth season this week, but after news of Young's death broke, production on the crime drama was shut down Monday.

--Maria Elena Fernandez contributed to this story.


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