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Tommy “Tiny” Lister manager says he died after experiencing COVID-19 symptoms

The ‘Friday’ actor’s manager, Cindy Cowan, said he started feeling sick about a week ago.

Tommy ‘Tiny’ Lister Getty Images

News broke earlier this week that actor Thomas Lister Jr. died at the age of 62 and now his manager is opening up about the actor’s health and said he was allegedly experiencing COVID-19 symptoms at the time of his death. Lister’s manager, Cindy Cowan, spoke to CNN and shared that the Friday actor started feeling sick about a week ago.

Cowan shared that his symptoms “got really bad, really quick” and that he had trouble breathing and felt very weak. “It literally went so fast,” she shared. The manager said the actor was scheduled to have gone to the set for a new movie last weekend but he called to cancel because he was feeling too weak and couldn’t breathe. “Tiny doesn’t miss movies; he took it very seriously,” she said.

Lister, who was best known for his role as Deebo in the Friday movies, was found dead in his Marina Del Rey, California home on Thursday (Dec. 10.) According to the manager, the actor canceled plans for a panel at a TV festival via Zoom on Wednesday (Dec. 9). Cowan’s assistant went to Lister’s house that day to check-in and his family members also started calling him that night, but she says the calls went unanswered.

One of Lister’s friends went to his house Thursday and called the police for help when nobody opened the door. When deputies entered the actor’s home, they found him dead. “Mr. Lister’s death appears to be of natural causes but will ultimately be determined by the Office of Medical Examiner-Coroner,” the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement, adding that the death is still under investigation.

According to what Cowan told TMZ, the actor was diagnosed with COVID four months ago and feared the virus had returned. The actor reportedly felt lethargic and struggled to breathe, but his diabetes also made him high-risk. She says he wasn’t hospitalized but quarantined at home. In an interview that took place just days before his death, Lister said he was looking forward to taking the coronavirus vaccine.

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