UPDATE: Young’s manager has confirmed his suicide in a statement to E! News.
“It is with great sadness that I announce that Lee Thompson Young tragically took his own life this morning,” longtime manager Jonathan Baruch said on Monday. “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 at this very difficult time.”
In incredibly sad and shocking news, TMZ is reporting that Lee Thompson Young, perhaps best known for playing the title role on the Disney Channel series The Famous Jett Jackson, has died at only 29 years old. Officials believe it was a suicide. Young was reportedly found with a gunshot wound that appears to have been self-inflicted. Young, who currently stars as a detective on the TNT drama Rizzoli & Isles, apparently didn’t show up for work this morning, leading staffers to call his landlord to check in on him. The landlord apparently found Young’s body in his L.A. home. According to TMZ, the story is still developing.
I remember watching and enjoying Young’s performance as teenage movie star Jett Jackson when I was a kid, and I adored his character Detective Frost on Rizzoli & Isles. He seemed to be making a smooth transition from teen star to mature actor, something you can’t say for a lot of young celebrities these days. While he was rather under-the-radar in his personal life, Young seemed to be working steadily over recent years, starring in such films as 2004′s Friday Night Lights and Akeelah and the Bee, and guest starring on popular TV series like Smallville and Scrubs. It’s yet another tragic loss of a promising young talent much too early in life.
While we wait for more information regarding Young’s death and the circumstances surrounding it, our thoughts are with his loved ones and co-workers at this unimaginably difficult time.