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‘Talladega Nights’ star Houston Tumlin dies by suicide at age 28

By Stephanie Toone, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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The actor was known for his signature lines in the Will Ferrell comedy.

Houston Tumlin, a former child star known for his role in “Talladega Nights,” has died at age 28.

Tumlin played the foul-mouthed eldest child of Ricky Bobby in the cult classic comedy “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” in 2006. The Alabama native died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his Pelham, Alabama, home, the Shelby County Coroner’s Office confirmed to USA Today. The 28-year-old’s girlfriend confirmed his death on her Facebook page Wednesday.

“I’ve never experienced a hurt like this before. I feel numb, I feel defeated, I feel lost. I feel empty,” Charity Robertson wrote on her Facebook page. “My heart is absolutely shattered,” she captioned several pictures of the couple Tuesday. “My sweet, sweet baby.. Our time together was one of the best experiences of my life. I’ll miss your big heart, caring spirit, infectious laughter, & oh man could the list go on. I love your smart mouth, your ‘i’m always right’ attitude… your hugs, your kisses, your touch.. Just YOU!”

Tumlin’s sole screen role was in the NASCAR-themed film as Walker Bobby alongside Grayson Russell, who played his little brother Texas Ranger Bobby. The two slick-tongued kids were known for their hilarious one-liners and popular dinner scene with their father Ricky Bobby, played by Will Ferrell. Tumlin stole the scene with his ripping comments that received as many laughs as Ferrell, the film’s star. 

In February, Tumlin reminisced on his Instagram page about his on-screen brotherhood with Russell.

Tumlin did not leave a note behind, but Shelby County Coroner Lina Evans told NBC News that the former actor, who served in the armed forces, suffered from PTSD and depression.

Some on social media paid tribute to Tumlin on Wednesday after the news of his death broke.

Geoff Carmichael, a man who said he served in the Army with Tumlin, said he recalled his “positive energy” and commitment to work.