UT Linebacker Jake Ehlinger Sam Ehlinger's Brother Found Dead Near Campus

7:21 AM PT -- 4/7 -- Texas released a touching video tribute to Jake ... showing some of the linebacker's happiest moments in a Longhorns uniform -- from running out of the tunnel holding the American flag to smiling alongside his brother, Sam.

"We love you Jake," Texas said in the tweet Thursday.

Sam Ehlinger's younger brother -- Univ. of Texas linebacker Jake Ehlinger -- was found dead near campus on Thursday ... TMZ Sports has confirmed.

A spokesperson for the Austin Police Department tells us cops received a call at around 12:18 PM, and a short time later, found Jake's body just blocks away from the university.

The spokesperson did not reveal a cause of death or any other details surrounding the tragedy ... but did note the department is considering it all "non-suspicious."

Jake walked onto the Longhorns' team in 2019 -- joining up with his older brother, Sam, who was a STAR quarterback for UT for the previous few seasons.

Jake did not log a snap in his first two years on the team.

Sam and Jake were very close ... in fact when Sam was picked by the Indianapolis Colts in the 6th round of the NFL Draft last week -- the two brothers shared a long embrace with other family members.

Jake was just 20 years old.

RIP

Originally Published -- 5/6 -- 3:08 PM

Robert Downey Jr. Assistant Dead at 52 Marvel Stars Pay Respects

Robert Downey Jr.'s mourning the loss of his late assistant, Jimmy Rich ... and his Marvel co-stars are remembering Iron Man's right-hand man.

Downey Jr. says Jimmy was in a fatal car accident around 8 PM Wednesday night, calling it a "terrible and shocking tragedy." He says Jimmy was like a brother to him, an uncle to his kids and "beloved by all who experienced his singular character and wit."

RDJ's also thanking Jimmy for supporting him throughout his recovery from drug addiction, saying Jimmy stuck with him every step of the way.

Robert's not alone in mourning Jimmy ... his celebs pals, in and out of the MCU, are recalling what he meant to them.

Mark Ruffalo is thanking Jimmy "for always being real, always being there to lend a hand and showing the way of light forward to so many people."

Chris Pratt says Jimmy was "awesome" and Jack Black says he was a "good man" ... while Jeremy Renner called his death a "devastating loss" and Ryan Reynolds said it's "heartbreaking."

Rich was 52.

RIP

Johnny Depp Gushes Over George Jung ... In Docuseries on 'Blow' Figure

BECOMING BOYS
Boston George: Famous without the Fortune

Johnny Depp's relationship with George Jung went far beyond their "Blow" connection ... and it's on display in a new docuseries about the late and infamous drug smuggler.

In this clip, obtained by TMZ, Depp calls Jung, AKA Boston George, "one of my favorite people instantly" ... describing their first meeting as the actor was preparing for his role in the film inspired by Jung's life.

Chris Chesson, Executive Producer of "Boston George: Famous Without the Fortune," says they began working on the 5-part series in December 2016, right as a parole violation sent Jung back behind bars for 8 months.

Chris says full production began in July 2017, and the crew filmed with Depp in May 2019. The rights to the completed documentary were purchased by 123 Go Films, which is shopping it to networks and streaming services.

Based on this exclusive clip, and the trailer, it seems like there should be some takers ... especially on the heels of Jung passing away.

TMZ broke the story ... the prolific drug trafficker, who helped Pablo Escobar's Medellin Cartel smuggle planeloads of cocaine into the U.S., died Wednesday morning at his Boston area home at the age of 78.

George Jung Real-Life 'Blow' Smuggler Dead at 78

George Jung -- the prolific cocaine smuggler portrayed by Johnny Depp in the movie "Blow" -- has died ... TMZ has learned.

Sources close to the situation tell TMZ ... George died Wednesday morning at home in the Boston area. The cause of death is currently not known, though he had recently been experiencing liver and kidney failure.

We're told he had been in home hospice care since this past weekend and died with his girlfriend, Ronda, and friend, Roger, by his side. We're told he will be cremated.

George's Twitter account tweeted a quote from the film Wednesday, “May the wind always be at your back and the sun upon your face, and the winds of destiny carry you aloft to dance with the stars. 1942-2021."

"Boston George," as he was known, served 20 years in prison for running drugs. He was released in 2014, but ultimately landed back behind bars just 2 years later for violating his parole by failing to inform his parole officer he would be hitting up San Diego.

He was famous for being part of the Medellin Cartel and helping Pablo Escobar smuggle planeloads of cocaine into the U.S. That was a big deal because, at the time, Escobar's cartel was responsible for distributing 80% of the world's cocaine -- and about 15 tons of blow reportedly came into the U.S. per day ... for a weekly haul of $420 million.

George's story was ultimately written in the book "Blow: How a Small-Town Boy Made $100 Million with the Medellin Cocaine Cartel and Lost It All" ... and then in the 2001 flick starring Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz.

Prince Philip Official Cause of Death ... He Was Really Old

Prince Philip died of nothing more than just being an old-timer ... that's how his official longtime palace doctor is putting it anyway.

The Duke of Edinburgh's official cause of death has reportedly surfaced, and it's simply stated as "old age" ... this according to the Daily Telegraph, which says it obtained his death certificate.

Now, we know what you're thinking ... what the hell does that even mean??? Welp, according to experts from across the pond -- citing old age is acceptable for someone over 80 who had one doctor look over his care for years ... and if there's no other identifiable disease or injury responsible for the death.

So, the obvious issue is Queen Elizabeth's husband had a number of ailments in his later years ... including a heart scare just months before he passed. Still, "old age" is what Buckingham Palace is going with and they kinda make the rules.

As they say ... it's good to be the Queen.

Seriously, though, in the U.S. ... it seems like the kind of thing we'd list as "natural causes."

As we reported ... 99-year-old Philip died last month, and the Royal Family held a grand funeral procession for him. Prince Harry flew in from the States for the ceremony and got some face time in with his brother and father ... the first time he'd seen them since his and Meghan's bombshell interview with Oprah.

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HONORING PRINCE PHILIP

One last thing about Phil's death cert -- it lists his full name, which is a mouthful ... even for a Royal. It reads ... His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh formerly known as Prince Philippos of Greece and Denmark formerly known as Philip Mountbatten.

His occupations were Naval Officer, and Prince of the United Kingdom.

Lamar Odom Mourns Father's Death 'We Had Our Differences, But He Loved Me'

Lamar Odom is mourning the death of his father, Joe -- explaining the two clashed at times, but ultimately loved each other dearly.

The ex-NBA star had announced his father's death back on April 20 -- and Monday night, he thanked everyone who had reached out.

"Thank you to everyone who extended love and prayers to me during my time of bereavement," Odom said ... "I appreciate every single one of you for sending me good energy."

Lamar continued, "Life is not promised. My pops and I had our differences but at the end of the day I knew he loved me and I loved him and that’s really all that matters."

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Joe and Lamar had a rocky relationship for years -- in 2013, Lamar quit paying his dad's rent when Joe publicly criticized the Kardashian family.

In 2015, Joe rushed to the hospital to be with Lamar after the NBA star's drug overdose ... but claimed Khloe Kardashian was blocking him from visiting his son.

THEY WON'T LET ME IN
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However, Lamar and Joe seemed to have reconciled over the past few years -- and Lamar is telling his followers to learn from their relationship.

"I encourage you to take some time and make amends with family and friends, tell someone you love them, smile a little more, laugh out loud, give your heart to those that deserve it because NOTHING is promised but death. That’s it."

Racing Legend Bobby Unser Dead at 87 3-Time Indy 500 Champ!!!

Bobby Unser -- who won the Indianapolis 500 race THREE TIMES during his illustrious career -- died Sunday at his home in New Mexico.

He was 87.

Officials at Indianapolis Motor Speedway say Unser died of natural causes -- but did not get into specifics.

Unser -- brother of fellow Indy 500 champ Al Unser -- is survived by his wife, Lisa, along with 2 sons Bobby Jr. and Robby and 2 daughters Cindy and Jeri.

Bobby Unser was a titan of the sport -- winning The Greatest Spectacle in Racing in 3 consecutive decades ... first in 1968, again in 1975 and finally in 1981.

Unser retired from racing in 1983 but went on to become a pretty successful TV analyst -- working for NBC, ABC, ESPN and more.

In fact, Unser was part of the broadcast team that won a Sports Award Emmy in 1989 and 1990 for coverage of the Indy 500.

In 1990, Unser was inducted into both the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame and the International Motorsports HOF.

Unser was a proud military veteran who served 2 years in the U.S. Air Force in the 1950s.

The 2021 Indy 500 is set for May 30 -- and you can bet your ass there will be a massive tribute to Unser at the event.

RIP

'Club Kids' Michael Alig Died of Fentanyl, Heroin Mix

Michael Alig -- one of the ringleaders of the Club Kids -- died from an overdose of several hard drugs ... TMZ has learned.

The Office of Chief Medical Examiner in NYC tells us ... Alig's cause of death was acute intoxication by fentanyl, acetylfentanyl, heroin and methamphetamine.

We broke the story ... Alig -- the notorious club promoter who was the subject of the 2003 Macaulay Culkin movie "Party Monster" and the 2015 documentary 'Glory Daze' -- was found dead in his NYC home on Christmas.

Law enforcement sources tell us ... a friend discovered Alig unconscious and unresponsive on his bed and called 911. He was pronounced dead on the scene.

We're told cops found 2 to 3 small bags of heroin and other empty bags near his body ... prompting their suspicion he'd died from an OD. The Medical Examiner says it was an accidental overdose.

54-year-old Alig, known as the "king of the Club Kids," pled guilty to first-degree manslaughter in 1997 in the killing of fellow Club Kid, Andre "Angel" Melendez. He served 17 years before his release in 2014.

Olympia Dukakis Dead at 89 Cher Pays Tribute

3:28 PM PT -- Cher just paid tribute to her famous 'Moonstruck' co-star and onscreen mother in light of her passing ... and even offered some insight into the last time she spoke to her.

She writes, "Olympia Dukakis Was an Amazing,Academy Award Winning  Actress.Olympia Played My Mom In Moonstruck,& Even Though Her Part was That Of a Suffering Wife, WeFace with tears of joyALL The Time.She Would Tell Me How MUCH She Loved Louis,Her”Handsome Talented,Husband”.I Talked To Her 3Wks Ago. Rip Dear One."

Cher also followed up by saying she'd actually spoken to Olympia recently, and despite sounding frail over the phone, Olympia recognized her once Cher said her name, apparently responding with "Oh Cher, I love you."

Olympia Dukakis -- the Oscar-winning actress best known for her role in 'Moonstruck' -- has died ... this according to her family.

Her brother, Apollo, broke the sad news Saturday ... taking to Facebook to update fans that his sister had passed in New York City. He adds, "After many months of failing health she is finally at peace and with her Louis." Her husband, Louis, died in 2018.

Dukakis is perhaps most remembered for her turn as Cher's mother in the 1987 rom-com -- in which she played a wise-cracking matriarch who dealt with her daughter's relationship woes ... and those of her own as well.

She'd starred in countless other movies and shows over the years too -- most notably, 'Steel Magnolias,' all of the 'Look Who's Talking' movies, 'Mr. Holland's Opus,' 'Working Girl,' 'Over the Hill,' 'Mafia!' 'In the Land of Women,' 'The Cemetery Club,' 'Charlie's War,' and countless others. Dukakis was known for her comedic chops ... but she could do drama just as well.

Her television career was perhaps just as prolific ... Dukakis has appeared on a number of hit shows over the years, including "Search for Tomorrow," "Tales of the City," "Touched By an Angel," "The Simpsons," "Center of the Universe," "Frasier," "Joan of Arc," "Bored to Death," "Law & Order," "Sex & Violence," "Forgive Me," "TripTank," "Switch" and more.

Dukakis had won and been nominated for Golden Globes and Emmys ... this on top of her Oscar win in '88. Even before her on-screen success, Dukakis was a decorated stage performer ... having performed in over 100 productions, including both Broadway and off-Broadway shows.

Of course, she's also former Presidential candidate Michael Dukakis' cousin -- so her family name is incredibly famous.

She's survived by her 3 children and siblings. Olympia was 89.

RIP

Originally Published -- 12:38 PM PT

Bernie Madoff Hypertension and Kidney Disease ... Causes of Death

Bernie Madoff died of plaque build-up in his arteries and terminal kidney failure ... according to his death certificate.

According to the doc, obtained by TMZ, Bernie's immediate cause of death is listed as hypertension, atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and chronic kidney disease.

Atherosclerosis is what develops when high blood pressure goes untreated -- he'd been battling it for just over a decade, and his kidneys were failing for 8 years.

The death certificate, obtained by TMZ, also lists his occupation. It says "Broker/Real Estate." No comment.

Madoff died at 3:29 AM on April 14 at Federal Medical Center in North Carolina where he was listed as an inpatient. His manner of death is listed as natural.

As we reported ... the mastermind behind the biggest fraud in Wall Street history had been serving a 150-year sentence before he died earlier this month. Madoff, who pled guilty to 11 federal felony counts, including securities fraud and wire fraud, had requested compassionate release to get out of prison early.

That request was denied, even after Madoff complained about other health issues.

Although many wanted to see Madoff burn in hell for bilking his victims, many of them elderly, the death certificate says he was cremated in North Carolina. That'll have to do.

Kirk Douglas' Widow Anne Buydens Dead at 102

Anne Buydens, who married Kirk Douglas a year after meeting him in 1953 on a movie set, is dead.

Kirks' widow died peacefully Thursday at her Beverly Hills home, which she shared with her late husband ... according to reps for the family.

A longtime staple in Hollywood, Anne presided over the Douglas Foundation and The Bryna Company before she died ... but she got her start in Tinseltown as a location scout for director John Huston. Anne also worked as a publicist for the Cannes Film Festival back in the day.

Anne and Kirk married way back in 1954 ... they'd met the previous year while he was shooting his starring role in "Act of Love." Anne applied for a job as his assistant on the movie ... and the rest, as they say, was history.

Anne and Kirk had 2 sons together, Peter and Eric. The latter died in 2004. FYI, Michael Douglas is one of Kirk's sons from his first marriage.

One thing Kirk and Anne definitely had in common was longevity. You'll recall, he passed away in February 2020 at the age of 103. Anne was 102.

RIP

Tommy 'Tiny' Lister Had COVID-19 When He Died, But ... Heart Disease Killed Him

Just as Tommy "Tiny" Lister's loved ones suspected, he did have COVID-19 at the time of his death ... but the L.A. County Medical Examiner says that's not what caused his death.

According to his autopsy, the "Friday" star died of hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease ... commonly called heart disease.

In the docs, obtained by TMZ, the ME also says a nasal swab came back positive for COVID-19 ... and notes Tommy had fluid in his chest when he died. Additionally, he had an enlarged heart with high blood pressure, poor circulation in his legs and coronary artery disease.

TMZ broke the story ... the 62-year-old actor died suddenly last year at his L.A.-area home. Paramedics responded, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

"I GOT WORK TO DO"
Brandon Jay/YouTube

Tommy's manager, Cindy Cowan, said he'd been experiencing COVID symptoms in the days leading up to his death, and was clearly having difficulty breathing during an online chat he had just days before he passed.

Shock G Funeral Plans Set ... Digital Underground Members To Pay Respects

Shock G will be laid to rest not far from where he died ... his funeral plans are set, and we're told his group Digital Underground will be well represented at the service.

The late rapper's manager, Atron Gregory, tells TMZ ... Shock's funeral is scheduled for Saturday in Tampa and a large Digital Underground contingent will be front and center, including founding member Money B and DJ Fuze.

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Money B's manager says ... MB's been working with Shock's family to help prep for the funeral, but it won't be a Digital Underground reunion. We're told members have seen each other recently and they regularly stay in touch.

As you know, Shock was famous for his work with Tupac Shakur, and a rep for the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation tells us Pac's stepbrother, Mopreme Shakur, will also attend the funeral, as well as rapper Ray Luv, a close friend of both Shock G and 2Pac.

As we first told you ... Shock G was found dead last week in a Tampa hotel room, and his father said there were no signs of trauma.

We've also learned new details surrounding Shock's death ... the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner tells us Shock was last seen the day before he died, when a hotel manager noticed him outside the building.

We're told the manager grew concerned when Shock missed his scheduled check-out time -- so he went to his room, opening the door to find Shock unresponsive laying in bed. The manager immediately called 911.

We're told the cause and manner of death are still unclear.

April the Giraffe Bronze Statue Will Greet Guests ... Ashes Spread in Memorial

April the Giraffe is gone, but not forgotten at the park where she captivated millions -- not only is there a new statue of her, but April's ashes will also be spread around the memorial.

A rep for the Animal Adventure Park in upstate NY tells TMZ ... they're celebrating Opening Day Wednesday by unveiling bronze statues in memory of the giraffes that passed -- April and her youngest son, Azizi who was born in March 2019 but unexpectedly died last year.

We're told the bronze statues are displayed just off of the park's giraffe yard and feeding deck. And April's ashes are in the memorial too.

As we reported ... April died earlier this year after her arthritis became much too painful, prompting park officials to do the humane thing and euthanize her. She captivated the world in 2017 and racked up millions of YouTube views on the park's live stream as fans waited weeks for her to give birth.

April ultimately gave birth on April 15 ... with more than 1.2 million tuning in ... including us. She had a boy named Tajiri.

Scottie Pippen Son Laid to Rest Mom Pens Emotional Tribute

"Your wings were ready but my heart wasn't."

That's Karen Pippen paying tribute to her son Antron after he was laid to rest at a funeral ceremony in Georgia over the weekend ... noting, "I will miss you tremendously."

As we previously reported, Antron Pippen -- son of NBA legend Scottie Pippen -- died on April 18, 2021. He was only 33.

In the hours after his passing, Scottie revealed Antron suffered from chronic asthma -- but it's not known if the condition contributed to his death.

Antron was born in 1987 to Karen McCollum -- who married Scottie in 1988 (they split in 1990).

The family held a ceremony for Antron on April 24th -- and afterward, Karen posted a note to her baby boy.

"Son, it has been such a pleasure and honor to be your mother. You've left me with so many wonderful memories that I will treasure daily."

"Your transition has left a huge gap in my heart and the pain is quite unbearable."

"I will miss you tremendously and my love for you is for ever. Rest well, my baby boy, until we meet again."

Scottie was very proud of his firstborn son, who played college basketball at Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) and South Georgia Technical College.

"Antron suffered from chronic asthma and if he hadn’t had it, I truly believe he would've made it to the NBA. He never let that get him down, though -- Antron stayed positive and worked hard, and I am so proud of the man that he became."

RIP.

Chadwick Boseman NFT Artwork for Oscars Redesigned Following Online Backlash

The artist who created a golden 3D sculpture of Chadwick Boseman's head as an NFT artwork is going back to the drawing board ... after some backlash over his decision to tie its release to the Oscars.

The artist, Andre Oshea, apologized Monday and added, "I now recognize that Chadwick's face is a triggering reminder of his death rather than his life."

Some fans took to social media to express their outrage -- one tweet read, "Creating a Chadwick Boseman NFT and not even giving him a posthumous Oscar is the best example of everything wrong today."

Another tweeter said, "Sooooooo lemme get this straight: They rushed the 'in memoriam' section to get to Chadwick's face last changed the order of the winners to tease Chadwick winning last and then at the end of the night everyone gets an NFT of Chadwick's head? This all feels wrong."

Well, they got that last part wrong -- Andre confirmed the NFTs were not included in Oscar swag bags, and he did have good intentions. He said he initially created the digital monument to embody Chadwick's influence "as a hero to all the Black kids everywhere while raising awareness about colon cancer and its impact on Black communities."

His redesigned NFT -- which was NOT commissioned by the Oscars -- will be auctioned off, with 50% of proceeds going to the Colon Cancer Foundation to fund 10,000 screenings to underserved communities.

It's expected to fetch over $1 million.

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