Actor Jason David Frank, who originated the role of Tommy Oliver in the Power Rangers TV series, has died aged 49, according to BBC News.
His manager Justine Hunt confirmed to the Associated Press the actor died on Saturday in Texas, describing him as a “wonderful human being”
Frank’s character started out as the Green Ranger in the first season of the show and was introduced to viewers as an enemy of the Power Rangers.
But he later became good and ultimately turned into the White Ranger.
Hunt asked for the “privacy of his family and friends during this horrible time as we come to terms with the loss of such a wonderful human being”.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers launched in 1993 on Fox Kids and initially aired for three years, the vigilante action heroes quickly becoming popular with young audiences.
The franchise continued over the following years with a string of new iterations and adaptations, with Frank often returning to his role in the series and becoming a favourite with the show’s fans.
Walter Jones, one of Frank’s co-stars on the show, wrote on Instagram: “Can’t believe it… RIP Jason David Frank. My heart is sad to have lost another member of our special family.”
Frank’s death comes two decades after that of co-star Thuy Trang, who died aged 27 in 2001 from injuries sustained in a car accident.
Frank’s Green Ranger was initially introduced as an antagonist in the series – who had been placed under a spell by the Power Rangers’ nemesis Rita Repulsa.
Originally scheduled for a limited appearance, Frank ended up becoming a series regular due to the character’s popularity among viewers.
After the Green Ranger was freed from Rita’s mind manipulation, viewers saw him transform into the White Ranger – a role that Frank fulfilled for the two seasons that followed.
Frank appeared in a plethora of spin-offs and reboots of the series, including Power Rangers Turbo, Power Rangers Zeo, Power Rangers Wild Force, Power Rangers Megaforce, Power Rangers: DinoThunder and Power Rangers Ninja Steel.
As well as being an on-screen action hero, in real life Frank also possessed a black belt in karate and was experienced with various other styles of martial arts, including Taekwondo, Judo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai.
The actor was inducted into both the World Karate Union Hall of Fame and the Black Belt Hall of Fame.
He also taught martial arts and co-founded the Rising Sun Karate Academy. He is survived by two sons and two daughters.
Image source: BBC News