According to TMZ, Lister was found unconscious Thursday in his Los Angeles area apartment. He was declared dead at the scene, and officials have yet to determine a cause of death. Lister's manager, Cindy Cowan, told Variety that he had been displaying symptoms of COVID-19 in recent days and had to cancel working on a movie after falling ill.
"He was a wonderful guy with a heart of gold. Everyone loved him. A real gentle giant," Cowan told Variety. "We're all devastated."
Lister starred with Hulk Hogan in the first-ever WWE film, "No Holds Barred." To promote the film, Lister joined WWE as his "No Holds Barred" character, Zeus. At SummerSlam in 1989, he teamed with Randy Savage against Hogan and Brutus Beefcake. The event was a big success, garnering 625,000 buys on pay-per-view. SummerSlam would not hit that number of buys again until nine years later in 1998, when Steve Austin defended the WWF Championship against The Undertaker.
Later that year, Lister was a part of The Million Dollar Team at Survivor Series. He wrestled his final match for WWE at a No Holds Barred: The Match, The Movie pay-per-view event on December 27, 1989, where he once again teamed with Savage against Hogan and Beefcake in a steel cage. Hogan and Beefcake were victorious after Hogan pinned Zeus.
After his stint with WWE, Tommy Lister had a short stint in WCW as Z-Gangsta in 1996.
Lister is also best known for his role as Deebo in the "Friday" films.
Wrestling Inc. would like to send their condolences to the family and friends of Tommy "Tiny" Lister.