Tommy Kirk
Source: Disney

'Swiss Family Robinson' and 'Old Yeller' Star Tommy Kirk Passed Away at 79 Years Old

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Sep. 30 2021, Published 11:20 a.m. ET

From an early age, actor Tommy Kirk knew that being an actor was exactly what he wanted to do. Discovered in a Pasadena, Calif., playhouse at just 13 years old in 1954, he saw his career quickly take off after that. Through starring roles in the 1950s and '60s such as in Old Yeller, Swiss Family Robinson, The Mickey Mouse Club, and Shaggy Dog, Tommy became a staple of the mid 20th century Disney universe and beyond.

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Unfortunately, Tommy passed away on Sept. 28, 2021, at 79 years old. So, what do we know about his cause of death? Keep reading for all of the available details.

Tommy Kirk and Ray Stricklyn
Source: Getty Images
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What was Tommy Kirk's cause of death? Details are still emerging.

The news of Tommy's death was shared in a Facebook post from his longtime friend Paul Petersen on Sept. 29, 2021.

He wrote, "My friend of many decades, Tommy Kirk, was found dead last night," but did not mention a specific cause of death.

Tommy lived alone in Las Vegas after retiring from acting back in 2006.

Paula added that "Tommy was intensely private."

Although his post broke the news to the world, Paul mentioned that Tommy's Old Yeller costar Beverly Washburn, who lives near Tommy, was the one who alerted Paul of Tommy's death on the morning of Sept. 29, 2021.

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Tommy Kirk
Source: Getty Images

Regarding his personal life, Paul wrote, "Tommy was gay and estranged from what remains of his blood-family."

As a message to his supporters, Paul wanted readers to "know that Tommy Kirk loved you, his fans. You lifted him up when an Industry let him down in 1965. He was not bitter. His church comforted him. May God have mercy on his soul."

In a statement to Fox, Beverly said that the actor passed away "peacefully" in his home, and added: "He was so loved. Anybody who has ever met Tommy can attest to the fact that he was so fan-friendly."

Tommy and Beverly were reportedly set to take part in an upcoming Old Yeller reunion.

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