By Jean Ross

Fans around the world are mourning the loss of actor Tommy Ford, who was best known for playing the role of the seemingly-jobless Tommy on “Martin.”

Family members say Ford, 52, became gravely ill suddenly and had been hospitalized in Atlanta since the start of this week. His wife told TMZ that Ford was put on life support after an aneurysm ruptured in his abdomen.

Tommy Ford – whose full name is Thomas Mikal Ford – appeared alongside Martin Lawrence and Tisha Campbell as Lawrence’s neighbor, straight man and comic foil on the sitcom  “Martin” in the ’90s. He went on to appear in other shows including “The Parkers,” “The Jamie Foxx Show” and “New York Undercover.” Most recently he played the role of the Pope of Comedy on the TV One show “Who’s Got Jokes.”

Ford also appeared in several films, and directed and produced several webisodes and television dramas. He was recently working on a documentary entitled “Reverse the Lynch Curse.”

Ford was also an author of children’s books and a philanthropist who worked with organizations promoting education and non violence lifestyles. He was regularly seen at schools in the Atlanta area speaking to students about setting positive goals in their lives.

Tommy Ford Hank Stewart Maria Boynton-and-tommy-e1470336570761

Ford visited V-103 in August with good friend and poet Hank Stewart (above, right) to promote Stewart’s White Linen Affair weekend.

“He used his stardom for good,” Stewart said Wednesday afternoon, having just visited Ford hours earlier at the hospital – where he was surrounded by friends and family including “Martin” co-start Carl Payne and R&B singer Angie Stone.

“He never told me ‘No,’ ” Stewart continued. “I never asked him to do one thing that he wouldn’t do. There were times that Tommy would be in another city and come to Atlanta if I needed him then leave and go back out of town. He knew that kids would listen to him because they knew him from watching the ‘Martin’ reruns; and he used his celebrity status to encourage them to study, read and do positive things with their lives.”

One of Ford’s last tweets, posted on Oct. 7, included pictures of him working with a physical therapist following recent knee surgery and promoting a line of men’s jewelry by Viviane Brazil Collections.

– Jean Ross, CBS Local


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