According to EW, Rob Garrison, known to fans as Tommy from The Karate Kid movies and YouTube’s sequel series Cobra Kai — died Friday morning, EW has confirmed. According to TMZ, the 59-year-old actor died at a hospital in his home state of West Virginia, where he had been receiving treatment for “ongoing kidney and liver issues.”
The actor secured a place for himself in pop culture history with his role in the 1984 hit Karate Kid. During the climactic All-Valley Karate Championship battle between underdog Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and menacing bully Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka), Tommy (Garrison) encourages his Cobra Kai teammate with one of the film’s most memorable lines — “Get him a body bag! Yeah!” — followed by a sinister giggle.
After appearing in The Karate Kid and The Karate Kid Part II, Garrison went on to appear in shows including Columbo, Coach, and Homefront. In 2019, he reunited with Zabka for a season 2 episode of Cobra Kai, in which Johnny and his old Cobra Kai buddies (Ron Thomas and Tony O’Dell) spring Tommy from the hospital, where he is being treated for cancer. The group goes on a camping trip to Big Bear Lake, where Tommy passes away peacefully in his sleep. The actors “were thrilled to get the chance to put on the masks of these characters again,” exec producer Josh Heald told EW in April. “It was just another layer to this show — all of a sudden, you’re in the woods with a bunch of grown men and you’re crying.”
Our entire Karate Kid/Cobra Kai family is devastated by the news of OG Cobra Rob Garrison’s passing. He was a truly gifted performer and an even better man. My heart goes out to Rob’s family during this difficult time. #RIP pic.twitter.com/aDiXcQ5ROu
— Jon Hurwitz (@jonhurwitz) September 27, 2019
2:22 PM – Sep 27, 2019
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Rick Henriques, Garrison’s personal appearances talent agent, tells EW, “Rob was really proud of that episode.”
Garrison is survived by his brother, Patrick.