Actor Thomas Jefferson Byrd has tragically died at the age of 70 after being shot in Atlanta.
The actor, who was good friends with Oscar-winning director Spike Lee, suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the back according to Atlanta police spokesman Anthony Grant.
Grant told the New York Times that Byrd was found ‘unresponsive’ at 1:45am on Saturday before being pronounced dead.
Lee, 63, first broke the news in an Instagram post which said: ‘Our Brother Thomas Jefferson Byrd As Da Pimp “SWEETNESS” Of Coney Island In HE GOT GAME. Photo By David Lee.
‘May Brother Byrd Be Flying Through Those Heavenly Pearly Gates. AMEN.’
Byrd was best known for starring in seven of Lee’s movies, including He Got Game (1998), Clockers (1995), Get On The Bus (1996), Bamboozled (2000) and most recently Chi-Raq (2015).
Nasser Metcalfe, who was a friend and former publicist of Byrd’s, told the publication that in recent years, the actor had ‘became more introspective’.
Metcalfe added: ‘He was on a path of spiritual self discovery, so to speak, more so than trying to book the next job.
‘There was no limit to his generosity. That’s who the man was.’
Byrd, who was born in Florida, graduated from Morris Brown College, a historically black and liberal arts school, after obtaining a degree in education. He then earned a master of fine arts in dance from the California Institute of Arts.
This is a developing story.
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