Tommy Ford /Photo: Getty Images
Tommy Ford /Photo: Getty Images

When gospel legend Richard Smallwood began to post information on his Facebook page about the declining health of his friend, the actor Tommy Ford, many wondered if Smallwood had gotten the news wrong.

But sadly, the news would soon be confirmed that Ford, 52, best known for his role as Tommy in the 1990s hit sitcom “Martin,” had died in Atlanta.

A cause of death has not been announced and the family, who released a statement on Wednesday, Oct. 12, has asked for privacy.

“It is with great sadness that we announce the untimely passing of our beloved son, father, brother, husband and friend Tommy Mykhal Ford,” the statement said. “On behalf of the family, we would like to thank everyone for their love, support and prayers. Please respect the privacy of the Ford family during our time of grief.”

Shortly before his death, Ford had been documenting on social media his recovery from knee replacement surgery.

The Los Angeles native graduated from the University of Southern California’s Fine Arts Acting Program.

He entered the television acting industry with his first character role as Lamar Collins on “A Different World,” going on to have parts in other television shows and films, including the 1989 Eddie Murphy movie “Harlem Nights.”

However, his role as Tommy Strawn, straight man to Martin Lawrence’s comedic character on “Martin,” made Ford a star.

Lawrence mourned the loss of his friend, joining the flood of fans who paid tribute to him on Twitter.

“We were friends way b4 the Martin show & showed tru friendship on-screen,” Lawrence tweeted. “You brought a lot of love 2 the world & you’ll be greatly missed.”

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