An autopsy report found that actor Anthony “AJ” Johnson, best known for his role as Ezal in the ’90s cult classic “Friday,” died as a result of “chronic ethanol use,” with the manner of death being natural. The ruling comes nearly five months after the comedian died in September 2021. Johnson, who was 55 years old, also reportedly had tested positive for COVID-19.
According to a report from the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner, released on Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022, Johnson’s death was natural, due to years of excessive drinking. Documents obtained by the outlet stated that no traces of alcohol or common drugs were found in his system when a toxicology test was run.
Test results showed that the “I Got the Hook-Up” star had recently tested positive for coronavirus, but signs of pneumonia were not detected.
As previously reported, the actor was found “lifeless” last September, his nephew told TMZ at the time and was later taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. His exact date of death is still unknown.
The Compton, California, native also appeared in several movie roles, including E.Z.E. in 1990’s “House Party,” the 1992 action film “Lethal Weapon 3,” and the 1993 film “Menace II Society.”
The entertainment industry mourned the loss of the star, whom many described as an “iconic legend of stage and screen.” Award-winning rapper Bow Wow paid tribute to the late actor following news of his death with a post on Instagram, sharing Johnson’s impact on his musical career earlier on.
Bow Wow, whose real name is Shad Gregory Moss, revealed that the actor helped the then 6-year-old burgeoning star land his first impromptu performance in front of thousands.
“A little history on myself, some things y’all don’t know about the night I was discovered in ’93 by Snoop and Dre at the concert. It was actually AJ Johnson who found me in the crowd and picked me to get on the stage, he was the Chronic Tour emcee during the intermissions. He was the one who pointed me out, ‘Eh, yo, little man, come up here, come up here and do ya thing.’ And from there that’s when Daz [Dillinger] found me and walked me to the back,” he recalled.
The “Like Mike” star concluded his statement, noting that “If it wasn’t for AJ Johnson’s eyes and him picking me out of a crowd of 20,000 people in Ohio, I don’t think it would’ve ever been a Bow Wow.”
He added, “I wanna send my condolences out to his family. Rest in peace, my brother. You will truly be missed. You definitely gone go down in history as one of the greats. One love.”
John’s widow Lexi Jones Mason, told reporters that she plans on creating a foundation in her late husband’s name, and wants to use his cause of death to raise awareness about the dangers of alcohol. Johnson is survived by his wife and their three children. He was also believed to have a brother, Edward Smith, and a sister named Sheila.
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