The entertainment world was dealt a crushing blow this weekend.
According to a report from the Associated Press, 70-year-old actor Thomas Jefferson Byrd was found dead by Atlanta police early Saturday after an apparent shooting. Byrd was best known for his roles in Spike Lee films, the AP noted.
A tragic death
Byrd had called the southwest side of Atlanta home for some time, and he was beloved both in his local community and among entertainment fans worldwide.
Sadly, Byrd was found with multiple gunshot wounds in his back just before 2 a.m. Saturday morning, the AP reported. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Byrd’s death is still being investigated by local homicide detectives, according to the AP. Further details remained unclear.
“Rest in peace, brother”
In the meantime, the actor’s fans and friends are publishing touching tributes. Among those expressing their grief is Spike Lee himself, who wrote in an Instagram post Sunday that Byrd was known for doing “his thang.”
“May we all wish condolences and blessings to his family,” he added, according to the AP. “Rest in peace, Brother Byrd.”
View this post on Instagram
I’m So Sad To Announce The Tragic Murder Of Our Beloved Brother Thomas Jefferson Byrd Last Night In Atlanta,Georgia. Tom Is My Guy,Here Below You See Him As The Frightening Character Errol Barnes In CLOCKERS. Brother Byrd Also Did His Thang In My Joints- CHI-RAQ,SWEET BLOOD OF JESUS, RED HOOK SUMMER,BAMBOOZLED,HE GOT GAME,GET ON THE BUS,GIRL 6 And CLOCKERS. May We All Wish Condolences And Blessings To His Family. Rest In Peace Brother Byrd.🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜
According to the AP, actress Viola Davis, an Oscar winner, also chimed in. “Loved working with you Byrd,” she wrote in a tweet. “What a fine actor you were. So sorry your life ended this way. Praying for your family.”
A long career
Byrd was known for his roles in movies like Clockers and Bamboozled, the AP reported, but he actually got his start on television. In 1992, the actor played a character named Louis Arthur in an episode of In the Heat of the Night, according to his IMDB profile.
Three years later, Lee cast him as Errol Barnes in Clockers, and the rest was history.
Byrd also received a Tony Award nomination for his role in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom in 2003, according to the AP.