Child star Lee Thompson Young found dead: Disney and Smallville actor 'tragically took his own life'

 

Former Disney star Lee Thompson Young has died aged 29 after apparently committing suicide.

The American actor, who gained fame as the teenage star of the Disney Channel's The Famous Jett Jackson, was also known for roles in Scrubs and Smallville.

Police confirmed that Young’s body was found at his North Hollywood home on Monday after he failed to show up for work filming TNT crime drama Rizzoli & Isles.

The Los Angeles Fire Department pronounced him dead at the scene, according to police Officer Sally Madera.

No official cause of death has been announced but Young’s manager Paul Baruch said the actor "tragically took his own life."

Ms Madera said in a statement that Los Angeles police detectives and the Los Angeles County coroner's office would launch a joint investigation “because it is a high-profile death”.

According to TMZ, the actor died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

“Lee was more than just a brilliant young actor, he was a wonderful and gentle soul who will be truly missed,” Baruch said.

“We ask that you please respect the privacy of his family and friends as this very difficult time.”

Young played police Detective Barry Frost Rizzoli & Isles, a popular crime drama also starring Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander, which had just been renewed for another series by TNT.

"We are beyond heartbroken at the loss of this sweet, gentle, good-hearted, intelligent man. ... 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," TNT, studio Warner Bros and series producer Janet Tamaro said in a joint statement.

Young started his acting career aged 10 when he played Martin Luther King Jr. in a play staged in his hometown of Columbia, South Carolina.

From 1998 to 2001 he appeared in The Famous Jett Jackson as a TV action hero who returns to his roots for a less high-profile life.

He also made appearances in The Guardian, Scrubs and Smallville and in the films Akeelah and the Bee, Friday Night Lights and The Hills Have Eyes II.

Young also appeared ABC television series FlashForward in which his character committed suicide by jumping off a bridge.

Speaking about the role in 2009, Young said: " The fact that he saw himself [in the near future] on the phone with a lawyer, talking about a case in which he accidentally killed the mother of two small children …He [my character] was trying desperately to figure out if there was any way he could change that."

"And, in the meantime, everything in everyone else’s flash forward seemed to be coming true, step-by-step, so he was unable to sleep at night. He was depressed, frustrated, angry. He felt powerless. And, in the end, he finally decided that this is how he could change that.

Young, a graduate of University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, was a keen photographer, traveller and student of martial arts.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Radio 4's Today programme host Evan Davis has been announced as the new face of Newsnight

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams performing on the Main Stage at the Wireless Festival in Finsbury Park, north London

music
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Mathison returns to the field in the fourth season of Showtime's Homeland

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Crowds soak up the atmosphere at Latitude Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Meyne Wyatt and Caren Pistorus arrive for the AACTA Aawrds in Sydney, Australia

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rick Astley's original music video for 'Never Gonna Give You Up' has been removed from YouTube

music
Arts and Entertainment
Quentin Blake's 'Artists on the beach'

Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beach

art
Arts and Entertainment
MusicFans were left disappointed after technical issues
Arts and Entertainment
'Girl with a Pearl Earring' by Johannes Vermeer, c. 1665
artWhat is it about the period that so enthrals novelists?
Arts and Entertainment
Into the woods: The Merry Wives of Windsor at Petersfield
theatreOpen-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Arts and Entertainment
James singer Tim Booth
latitude 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Lee says: 'I never, ever set out to offend, but it can be an accidental by-product'
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe judges were wowed by the actress' individual cooking style
Arts and Entertainment
Nicholas says that he still feels lucky to be able to do what he loves, but that there is much about being in a band he hates
musicThere is much about being in a band that he hates, but his debut album is suffused with regret
Arts and Entertainment
The singer, who herself is openly bisexual, praised the 19-year-old sportsman before launching into a tirade about the upcoming Winter Olympics

books
Arts and Entertainment
music
Arts and Entertainment
Jon Cryer and Ashton Kutcher in the eleventh season of Two and a Half Men

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

film
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

    A land of the outright bizarre
    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
    Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

    The worst kept secret in cinema

    A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
    Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
    Why do we have blood types?

    Are you my type?

    All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
    Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

    Honesty box hotels

    Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

    Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

    The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
    Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

    The 'scroungers’ fight back

    The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
    Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

    Fireballs in space

    Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
    A Bible for billionaires

    A Bible for billionaires

    Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
    Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

    Paranoid parenting is on the rise

    And our children are suffering because of it
    For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

    Magna Carta Island goes on sale

    Yours for a cool £4m
    Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn