Jason David Frank -- who played Tommy Oliver and the White Ranger in the debut 'Power Rangers' series- dies at 49

Jalyn Smoot

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Photo bySaban Entertainment Courtesy of Everett Collection

Actor Jason David Frank, made famous for his role as Tommy Oliver in the 'Mighty Morphin Power Rangers' television series, has passed away at 49.

The actor and mixed martial artist died in Texas, according to his manager Justine Hunt. Sources with intimate knowledge of the situation reported to TMZ that his death was the result of suicide.

Frank is survived by his four children — sons Hunter and Jacob, plus daughters Skye and Jenna.

He was an inspiration to so many people, said Walter Jones, who played the Black Ranger alongside Frank in the initial entry of 'Power Rangers' series. "His presence will be dearly missed. It’s so sad to lose another member of our Ranger family."

Frank became synonymous with the embodiment of a Power Ranger and was the most easily recognizable fixture in the franchise.

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Actor Jason David Frank poses with Power Ranger suits he debutedPhoto byGetty Images

His legitimate mixed martial arts background and unwavering enthusiasm made Frank a fan favorite of the television series.

Frank was an eighth-degree black belt in karate and was experienced in many other styles of martial arts including taekwondo, judo, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, karate, and Muay Thai.

He also enjoyed a brief stint competing in mixed martial arts, going undefeated across four amateur bouts in 2010, and even throwing his name in the hat to fight CM Punk in the UFC.

Despite his ability to dish out beatings in all forms, Frank was beloved on set and known for his infectious sense of humor.

In a conversation with TMZ, 'Mighty Morphin Power Rangers' co-star Walter Jones had this to say about Frank:

Jason was one of the biggest pranksters on the show. He had a wild sense of humor. We had our shares of ups and downs, but I stayed consistent about being an ear if he needed one. My prayers go out to his family and all that will miss him."
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Photo bySaban Entertainment Courtesy of Everett Collection

Frank starred as one of the leads in three seasons of 'Power Rangers' and appeared as Tommy Oliver in six different iterations of the cherished television series.

According to IMDB, Frank appeared in 257 episodes, which is the most by any 'Power Rangers' actor.

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Jason David Frank on set as the White RangerPhoto byDisney-ABC Domestic Television

In addition to the television show, Frank also reprised his role as Tommy Oliver and the White Ranger in the 'Mighty Morphin Power Rangers' movie released in the summer of 1995.

In its opening weekend, the film earned $17 million, coming in fourth behind Apollo 13, Pocahontas, and Batman Forever. It ultimately grossed $66.4 million against a $15 million budget, making it a financial success.

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Still from the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers movie (1995)Photo byCreative Commons

Like millions of others who admired the work of Frank, I am grieved to hear of his passing. His shocking death is yet another cruel reminder of the bout we face with mental health.

If anyone reading this is considering suicide or other forms of self-harm, please reach out to a hotline immediately.

By dialing or texting the number 988, people can call, text, or chat with an agent online for support. Remember, if you are feeling lonely, you are far from alone.

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