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Anton Yelchin Shifting Device Possible Cause Of Fatal Jeep Accident

6/20/2016 6:38 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

0620-jeep-recall-notice-anton-yelchin-TMZ-01The Jeep that rolled backwards and killed 27-year-old actor Anton Yelchin was recalled because the shifting mechanism caused drivers to unintentionally leave it in the wrong gear.

TMZ broke the story ... the 'Star Trek' star was leaving his home sometime before 11 PM Saturday when he got out after clearing his security gate. The 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee -- which was on a steep incline -- rolled backwards, pinning him against the gate. His friends found him dead at 1 AM.


The 2015 Cherokee models were recalled because of the e-shift transmission. It lacks the grooves found in old school transmissions that allow drivers to feel the various gears. According to the recall notice, the e-shift provides "poor tactile and visual feedback to the driver," which makes unintended gear selection more likely. Translation: A driver could put a car in neutral thinking it was in park.

The 2016 models reverted to an old school shifter.

So far no word on whether the shifting device contributed to the accident.

Yelchin died from blunt traumatic asphyxia.

'Star Trek' Star Anton Yelchin Dead After Freak Accident

6/19/2016 10:46 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

0619-anton-yelchin-remembering-launch-gallery-GETTY-01Actor Anton Yelchin, known for his roles in "Star Trek" and "Alpha Dog," was killed early Sunday morning after getting pinned by his own car ... TMZ has learned.

Yelchin's friends became alarmed because he was supposed to meet them hours earlier for a rehearsal. They went to his San Fernando Valley home at around 1 AM and found him pinned between his car and a brick mailbox pillar, which was attached to a security gate.

Law enforcement tells us the engine was running when his body was discovered, and the car was in neutral. The driveway was on a fairly steep incline. It's unclear why he got out of the car.

Cops do not suspect foul play.

Yelchin was 27.


Ron Lester Billy Bob From 'Varsity Blues' Dead at 45

6/17/2016 4:20 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

0617-launch-ron-lester-varsity-bluesRon Lester -- the lovable heavyset man in "Varsity Blues" -- has died ... TMZ has learned.

The man famously known for playing Billy Bob in the 1999 football flick had been hospitalized in Dallas for roughly four months. His health had been in a steady decline but turned for the worst Friday.

We're told Lester requested to be taken off life support and passed around 9 PM central time. His fiancée was by his side.  

Lester -- who also appeared in "Not Another Teen Movie" and "CSI: NY" -- battled with liver issues as far back as November. We're also told he suffered from kidney problems.

He was 45.

P.M. Dawn Prince Be Dead at 46

6/17/2016 4:30 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Breaking News

0617_pm_dawn_remembering_launchOne half of P.M. Dawn ... singer Attrell Cordes, who was best known as Prince Be ... has died. 

Cordes passed away Friday at his NJ home from kidney disease. He was 46. 

PM Dawn, which also included Cordes' brother, Jarrett, were huge in the early '90s. They're best known for their #1 hit "Set Adrift on Memory Bliss."

It appears Cordes was also living with diabetes. A post on the group's Facebook page read, "Prince Be Rest In Peace forever more, Pain from Diabetes can't harm you anymore."


Christina Grimmie Emotional Farewell For Family & Friends

6/17/2016 4:15 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Christina Grimmie's family gathered in her hometown for a final farewell, and invited her fans to share in the experience.

The 'Voice' singer's family had a private funeral Friday morning, and then streamed a memorial service with friends and relatives from Fellowship Alliance Chapel in Medford, NJ.

The biggest tearjerker came when Christina's mom got up and thanked everyone ... especially her son, Marcus, who was with Christina last week when she was murdered in Orlando

Not a single dry eye.

Disney Gator Attack Cause of Death ... Drowning, Traumatic Injuries

6/16/2016 3:54 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Breaking News

0616-grand-floridian-police-journo-christal-twitter-01The 2-year-old boy attacked by an alligator at a Disney hotel in Florida died from a combination of drowning and traumatic injuries ... this according to the Orange County Medical Examiner.

The M.E.'s office made its determination just a day after the body of Lane Graves was retrieved from the Disney lagoon.

For some reason the resort is still hunting for the alligator that killed the boy, despite the fact that all alligators are capable of killing a small child and mistaking it for food. Search teams have already captured and euthanized five gators.

The forensics team is comparing the teeth of the alligators they've captured against the bite marks on the child's body to make their determination.

Christina Grimmie Killer Went Under the Knife to Win Her Affection

6/16/2016 1:00 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

0615-grimmie-loibl-getty-01Christina Grimmie's killer was on a mission to make himself so appealing she couldn't resist him, and when it didn't work he changed his plan to kill her ... this according to his former co-workers.

Various people who worked with Kevin Loibl tell TMZ his infatuation with Christina was boundless. He went on a mission to change his appearance for her and, toward the end, got hair transplants and Lasik eye surgery. He also went vegan to lose weight.

He would also listen to her music at work and vow she would someday be his wife.

Loibl's Best Buy co-workers say he went to one of Christina's shows in March and hinted that he actually met her. The co-workers also say the Geek Squad killer claimed to have played online games with the singer. A source close to the singer, however, tells us Christina never had contact with Loibl.

0615-Christina-grimmie-Stephen-instagram-2And there's this. The co-workers say they teased Loibl that he would never score because Christina had a boyfriend ... her producer. That relationship was never public, but pictures of Christina and the guy together on social media made it pretty clear ... they were together. We're told that enraged Loibl.

That rage was vented last Friday after Christina's show, when he shot her in the head and then killed himself.


Disney Attack Child's Body Recovered Body Intact

6/15/2016 1:55 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Breaking News

The body of the missing 2-year-old boy has finally been located after an exhaustive search ... and after analyzing the remains, cops believe the alligator drowned the child.

The name of the boy was also released ... 2-year-old Lane Graves from Elkhorn, Nebraska -- and his parents, Matt and Melissa.

The Orange County sheriff said Lane's body was located 10-15 yards from where he was pulled under water ... in about 6 feet of water. They said the body is still intact.

A rep for Fish and Wildlife said they will run forensics on the 5 gators they've pulled out of the Seven Seas Lagoon to determine if one of them is responsible for the child's death. They said if they can't find a match ... they'll continue searching for the culprit.

As we previously reported ... there were no signs warning of alligators in the water at the Disney Resort.

Madison Beer Christina Grimmie's Death Won't Keep Me Away from My Fans

6/15/2016 6:51 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Justin Bieber protege Madison Beer is understandably freaked out by the murder of Christina Grimmie, but she's not going to deny her fans face-to-face contact.

Our photog got Madison, who's managed by Scooter Braun, out in WeHo Tuesday, and she made it clear ... she is deeply affected by Christina's death, both personally and professionally.

You hear Madison's conflict as she tries to reconcile prudent safety measures with the business of music.

Christina Grimmie Fans and Friends Mourn At Hometown Vigil

6/14/2016 6:59 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

0614-christina-grimmie-getty-02Christina Grimmie's New Jersey hometown came out in droves Monday night for her candlelight vigil.

Hundreds reportedly showed up to the Marlton Memorial Sports Complex in Evesham, New Jersey to hear her brother, Marcus, the mayor and best friends speak about her all too short life.

Marcus also paid tribute to the 49 slain victims of the Orlando mass shooting, pointing out they'd been staying only 4 miles away from Pulse nightclub.

22-year-old Christina was fatally shot Friday night in Orlando during a fan meet and greet following her concert.



Orlando Massacre Nightclub Victim Was Ex-College Hoops Player

6/13/2016 12:35 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Exclusive Details

0614-kimberly-morris-facebook-01One of the victims in the Orlando massacre was a former 2-sport college athlete ... who graduated from Post University in 2001, TMZ Sports has learned. 

Kimberly "KJ" Morris was working as a bouncer at Pulse when the gunman stormed the popular LGBT nightclub and opened fire -- killing 37-year-old KJ and 48 others. 

We spoke with a rep for Post University in Waterbury, Conn. who confirmed KJ played Division II basketball there from '97 to '99 -- and then switched to volleyball from '99 to '01. 

"The Post University community is deeply saddened by the death of 2001 graduate Kimberly 'KJ' Morris," a University spokesperson said in a statement.

"She earned her Bachelor of Science degree as a resident student of the University’s Waterbury campus and is remembered as an active, vibrant student-athlete and leader within the Post family."

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Kimberly’s family and friends, and the many Post alumni who have contacted us to share their memories of this wonderful young woman."

NFL's Bryan Robinson Poppers and Weed Found at Death Scene ... Cops Say

6/13/2016 11:56 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

0613-bryan-robinson-GETTY-01The Milwaukee Police Dept. says poppers, marijuana and alcohol were found in the motel room where ex-NFL lineman Bryan Robinson died.

According to an official report obtained by TMZ Sports, the 41-year-old checked in to the Midpoint Motel around 9 AM on Saturday with another man -- black male, thin build and dreadlocks.

Staffers say Robinson was a "regular" at the hotel and usually checked out at 6 PM -- and got concerned when he didn't leave at his usual time. So they checked on the room and found Robinson lying face down on the bed.

Officials say there was no sign of trauma -- but investigators did find marijuana, an empty bottle of Jungle Juice Plus poppers, Crown Royal and a bottle of lubrication. 

The coroner noted that Robinson had "petechial hemorrhages."

According to the police report, the other man left the motel between 4 PM and 5 PM. 

Officials say Robinson's wife was contacted -- and they informed her of his death. She said Robinson didn't have any medical problems and she last spoke with him Saturday morning before he left. 

'ALF' Star Dead at 76

6/13/2016 9:19 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

0609_MIHALY-MESZAROS-tmz_wmMichu Meszaros, the circus star who played "ALF" for four seasons, has passed ... his longtime manager, Dennis Varga, confirmed to TMZ. 

He'd been rushed to an L.A. hospital over a week ago after being found unresponsive at his home and had been in a coma since.

Michu was born in Hungary and began performing in the circus in his teens. He was only 33 inches tall coining him the unofficial title as "the smallest man on earth." He eventually joined Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus in the '70s.

He was close friends with Michael Jackson after the pop star saw him perform. Michu was reportedly a regular at Neverland Ranch, present during MJ's courtship to Lisa Marie and even knew Michael's kids. 

He landed the role of walkaround ALF in the '80s.

Varga has set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for funeral costs and medical bills. 

Michu was 76.

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