LOS ANGELES, California (AP) --
Jaleel White, who played 'nerdy Steve
Urkel on "Family Matters" found dead Monday.
He was 29 years old.
White was pronounced dead on arrival after admission
to an LA hospital early Monday morning. The death is being investigated
as a suicide.
Born Jaleel Ahmad White, he began his career at the
age of three acting in television commercials, before landing guest
spots on shows such as "The Jeffersons" and "Mr.
Belvedere." It was in 1989 that White landed the role that would
make him famous, playing wacky neighbor 'Steve Urkel' on the ABC program
Following the cancellation of "Family
Matters" in 1997, friends claim White became obsessed with the
character, and grew despondent, despite further successes as star and
producer of the UPN sitcom "Grownups", and as a writer for
Neighbor and friend, Bradley Spencer alerted police
after hearing what he described as "a loud bang" coming from
White's Los Angeles apartment.
Authorities state that upon entering the home they
discovered a young African-American male with an
apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Also found was a
note, which read simply "Did I do that?", a popular
catchphrase from the show.
"Jaleel was an uncommonly good man, an
exceptional role model and a great comedic actor," said William
Bickley, who created the series, and Thomas L. Miller, one of the
executive producers, in a joint statement.
"We feel privileged to have known him and worked
with him. He'll be missed and remembered every day by his many, many
friends," they said.
Actress Kellie Williams -- Laura Winslow on the series
-- described White as a consummate professional actor. "Everyone
adored him," she said.
"We have all lost a dear, dear brother,"
said Reginald VelJohnson, who played Carl Winslow.
White, an only child, is survived by "cousins,
aunts, uncles, and wonderful friends," Bickley said.