Leo O’Brien, a star of the cult classic “The Last Dragon,” died in New York on Wednesday at age 41, family and friends said.
The cause of death was not released. His friend and former castmate, Taimak Guarriello said only, “He’s been having a little problem.”
“He’s been through a lot of tough times,” Guarriello said. “It’s unfortunate.”
O’Brien, who was trying to put his checkered past behind him and resurrect an acting career, was shot three times in Harlem a year ago after an argument with an acquaintance.
O’Brien — who ran several businesses after a string of arrests that landed him in jail for eight years — was cast as a charming Harlem gangster.
“I think people should remember him as the talent that he was,” he said. “He was a sweetheart and he had a good sense of humor.”
Guarriello said he learned of his pal’s death from O’Brien’s son, Drew, who mourned his father on Facebook with the message: “R.I.P to my father Leo Obrien. You will be dearly missed. I love you.