Deezer D, who scrubbed up as nurse Malik McGrath on the beloved medical drama “ER,” has died. He was 55.
Although no official cause of death has been released, Deezer is believed to have died of a heart attack Thursday morning, his brother Marshawn told TMZ.
Deezer was a high-profile part of NBC’s iconic Thursday night “must-see-TV” lineup for nearly 200 episodes spanning 1994 through 2009.
The actor — whose birth name was Dearon Thompson — was found unresponsive in his Los Angeles home. He had previously survived major six-hour heart surgery in 2009.
“I have a heart valve that is leaking and the aorta had expanded to way beyond what it is supposed to be,” Deezer told Radar Online at the time. “As soon as the doctor identified what was going on, he put me in here … What I was going through for the last year — that was scary. I’m fearless about the surgery.”
In addition to his long-running role on the Steven Spielberg-produced “ER” opposite George Clooney and Julianna Marguiles, Deezer had co-starring roles in cult films such as 1993’s “CB4” with Chris Rock and 1997’s “Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion” with Lisa Kudrow and Mira Sorvino.
He also appeared in 1991’s infamous “Cool as Ice” with rapper Vanilla Ice — and had a career in hip-hop himself, appearing on soundtracks for “CB4” and 2002’s “Crazy As Hell.”
Deezer released his only full-length solo recording, “Delayed, But Not Denied,” in 2008. A new single, “History Can’t Be Stopped,” was released posthumously on Friday.
His last acting credit listed on IMBD is a small role in the 2017 TV film “Crowning Jules” opposite original “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” Kristy Swanson.
In recent years, Deezer launched a career as a Christian motivational speaker and worked as a personal trainer, as documented on his Instagram page.
His fellow actors and crew members have already started taking to Twitter to pay tribute to the late actor.
“I had the pleasure of working with Deezer D on E.R.,” actor Terry Wilkerson posted. “One of the kindest most gentle souls ever. Even before Diversity was popular he made it on one of the biggest Shows on Network. Prayers to his family. Rest Easy my Brother.”
I had the pleasure of working with Deezer D on E.R. One of the kindest most Gentle souls ever. Even before Diversity was popular he made it on one of the biggest Shows on Network. Prayers to his family.Rest Easy my Brother. pic.twitter.com/XSIoSfFu9l— Terry Wilkerson (@TerryWilkerson) January 8, 2021
“ER” producer Neal Baer shared that he was “sad to learn” about the passing of “a very sweet, kind man [who was] wonderful to work with.”
Scott Baio’s Twitter tribute included a tease for an upcoming project he appears in with Deezer.