‘Jett Jackson’ Star Lee Thompson Young Dies of Suicide

Lee Thompson Young (courtesy of TNT)

Former “Jett Jackson” star and “Rizzoli & Isles” cast member, Lee Thompson Young was found dead in his North Hollywood apartment Monday. He was 29-years-old.

Police officers were called to Young’s house after he failed to show up for work Monday morning. The LAPD has not released an official cause of death, but Young’s manager, Jonathan Baruch, released a statement saying the actor committed suicide shortly after the news broke.

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

According to TMZ reports, Young’s body was found with a gunshot wound that appeared to be self-inflicted.

Young first appeared on television at age 14 as the star of the Disney show “The Famous Jett Jackson,” which aired from 1998 to 2001. The show followed a child star that stars in an action show who later decides to move production back to suburban North Carolina from Hollywood so he can resume life with his family.

He later appeared in the films “Friday Night Lights,” and “Akeelah and the Bee.” Young also had a successful run on several TV shows including “Smallville,” “Scrubs,” “CSI: NY, ” “Flash Forward” and most recently “Rizzoli and Isles.”

“Everyone at Rizzoli & Isles is devastated by the news of the passing of Lee Thompson Young,” TNT, Warner Bros. and Rizzoli & Isles executive producer Janet Tamaro said in a statement. “We are beyond heartbroken at the loss of this sweet, gentle, good-hearted, intelligent man.

“He was truly a member of our family,” the statement said. “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.”

Young often said he cherished his roots as a child star.

“It’s always a really great feeling when I talk to people who watched ‘Jett Jackson,’ because we were the same age,” he told EW.com in 2011. “We were all kids. I was 13 when I started working on that show and that was part of my childhood. And it’s kind of like we have that in common.

Lee Thompson Young was born in South Carolina in 1984.  He started acting when he was 10-years-old.  He got an agent a few years later after traveling to New York.  He auditioned for the lead role in “The Famous Jett Jackson” in 1997 and the show aired in 1998. Young also starred in a made for TV movie based on the show called, “Jett Jackson:  The Movie.”  It was the first time that the Disney Channel made a movie that was based on an original Disney series.

The actor later attended USC’s School of Cinematic Arts on a full academic scholarship and graduated magna cum laude in 2005.

Young is survived by his mother and sister.

Production on “Rizzoli & Isles” has been temporarily shut down. No word on when filming will begin again.


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