'Years of Hard Drinking' Led to Friday Star's Death

'Chronic ethanol use' is official wording used by coroner's office regarding Anthony Johnson
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 20, 2021 2:57 PM CDT
Updated Feb 9, 2022 9:02 AM CST

Update: The autopsy report is in on Friday star Anthony "AJ" Johnson, who was found lifeless in a Los Angeles store in September. Although the coroner's office deemed the manner of death natural, the cause was attributed to "chronic ethanol use"—meaning Johnson died "from years of hard drinking," as TMZ puts it. The autopsy report does note that toxicology tests showed there was no sign of alcohol, or any other typically abused drugs, in Johnson's system at the time he died. The coroner also found Johnson had recently had COVID. Johnson's widow, Lexis, is said to now be publicizing that her late husband died of alcohol abuse as a warning to others. The development comes a week after Johnson received a new headstone at his gravesite, ahead of his 56th birthday in September. The inscription reads: "Don't cry for me, I lived and made your ass laugh ... tell me I'm lying!" Our original story from September follows:

Ice Cube says he is saddened by the death of Friday co-star Anthony "AJ" Johnson. A rep for the 55-year-old comedian and actor confirmed the death to Fox. "Our BH Talent family is saddened about the loss of an amazing iconic legend in comedy," said LyNea Bell. Johnson, who played crack addict Ezal in 1995's Friday, also appeared in movies including Menace II Society, Lethal Weapon 3, and Player's Club, NPR reports. His first major role was in 1990's House Party.

"He has left with us amazing memories of his laughter, dynamic acting skills, but most of all his enormous personality and heart of gold," Bell said. No cause of death was disclosed. TMZ reports that Johnson's nephew says he "was found lifeless in a store earlier this month in Los Angeles and rushed to a hospital."

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Johnson—son of the founder of the Black Stuntmen's Association—had a standup career that took off after his House Party role. He also appeared in TV shows including Moesha and Malcolm & Eddie. "Sad to wake up to the news about AJ Johnson passing away," Ice Cube tweeted. "Naturally funny dude who was straight outta Compton at the same time." He is survived by his wife Lexis and three children, CNN reports. (More obituary stories.)

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