Beloved actor and comedian AJ “Ezal” Johnson reportedly passed away recently, and his famous friends are reeling from the news. His representative LyNea Bell confirmed the news with CNN on Monday, September 20th. He was 55 and a well-known face in black cinemas. With his passing comes an outpouring of love and support from those who knew him best.
In the accompanying statement announcing his passing, LyNea Bell said, “The world of Comedy has truly been shaken, again. Our BH Talent family is heartbroken about the loss of the iconic legend of stage and screen Mr. Anthony “AJ” Johnson.” He went on to say that Johnson left behind “amazing memories of his laughter,” calling him an “enormous personality” and “heart of gold.”
Amongst those paying their respects were fellow comedian Mike Epps, also famous for his participation in the Friday franchise. “Rip Aj Rest In Peace had a lot of good laughs with you man funny funny guy !!”
Friday star Ice Cube also took to social media to pay his respects to his fallen co-star. “Sad to wake up to the news about AJ Johnson passing away. Naturally funny dude who was straight outta Compton at the same time. Sorry I couldn’t bring your character Ezal back to the big screen in Last Friday…”
Sad to wake up to the news about AJ Johnson passing away. Naturally funny dude who was straight outta Compton at the same time. Sorry I couldn’t bring your character Ezal back to the big screen in Last Friday… https://t.co/gKbYZDZ4Br— Ice Cube (@icecube) September 20, 2021
Johnson famously accused Ice Cube or promising him a bigger part in Next Friday before banning him from set after recasting his character. He was confused especially after he claims Ice Cube expressed regret at not featuring his character more in the first film. He was recast and the role went to Fredo Starr of Onyx.
Rapper/Actor Lil Bow Wow also opened up, expressing his condolences and sharing that Johnson was instrumental in helping him get discovered. He told fans on Instagram that Johnson was the one who actually spotted him in the crowd during the Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre show were his career began.
Michael Blackson also paid his respects to his friend via Twitter. “
This one hurts, I was very close to this guy. [heartbreak emoji] Rest well AJ Johnson”
This one hurts, I was very close to this guy. 💔 Rest well AJ Johnson pic.twitter.com/KJVOgkjJRK— Michael Blackson (@MichaelBlackson) September 20, 2021
Johnson had reportedly been found unresponsive in a shop earlier this month and rushed to hospital. He was pronounced dead there, with no cause of death provided.
RIP Anthony Johnson, best known for his role as Ezal from Friday, films like I Got The Hook Up, BAPS, and Player’s Club. Here’s a clip of AJ Johnson on Def Comedy Jam. pic.twitter.com/ncKtsbInza— NUFF (@nuffsaidny) September 20, 2021