'Martin' Actor Thomas Mykal Ford Dies at 52

Thomas Mikal Ford on stage during R Kelly performance - Getty -H 2016
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The actor's career in film, television and theater spanned more than two decades.

Thomas Mykal Ford, who starred on five seasons of Martin Lawrence's Martin sitcom, died late Wednesday afternoon, his agent, Joy Pervis, told the The Hollywood Reporter. He was 52.

Ford's family released a statement: "It is with great sadness that we announce the untimely passing of our beloved son, father, brother, husband, and friend Tommy Mykal Ford. On behalf of the family, we would like to thank everyone for their love, support and prayers. Funeral arrangements will be forthcoming. Please respect the privacy of the Ford family during our time of grief."

After the news broke, Lawrence told THR, "Tommy was not only a great costar, but he was a great man and friend. He always brought with him his spirituality, a positive attitude and so much joy. I am sad the world lost a great talent and that I lost a wonderful friend. God bless him and his family."

The actor, best known as Tommy Ford, joined the Fox sitcom in 1992, playing sidekick Tommy Strawn in the comedy for more than 100 episodes. Following the series, he nabbed a role on Fox drama series New York Undercover as Lt. Malcolm Barker and on UPN's The Parkers as Mel Parker. 

Prior to his career-making turn on the Lawrence series, Ford appeared on MacGyver, Living Single, The Flash, Law & Order and the TV version of Uncle Buck

Ford's career in film, television and theater spanned more than two decades. His film appearances through the years include Harlem Nights with Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor, Night and the City with Robert De Niro and Class Act with Kid 'n Play.

Recently, he branched out as a motivational speaker. 

Word of his death spread quickly, flooding social media with tributes from fans and celebrities, which led to his name trending worldwide on Twitter.