Ralph Macchio is paying tribute to his friend and Karate Kid co-star, Rob Garrison, following the actor’s death at age 59.
After USA Today and other outlets reported that Garrison passed away at a West Virginia hospital after his organs shut down due to kidney and liver problems, Macchio took to Twitter to remember his co-star, who played Tommy in the original Karate Kid movie in 1984.
In a poignant post that included a throwback from their Karate Kid days and a more recent photo of Garrison, Macchio remembered his late co-star as kind and genuine.
“Rob Garrison was a kind gentleman from the 1st day I met him to the last day we spoke. I am so glad he had the opportunity to show his range & genuine heart w/his performance last season on Cobra Kai. His campfire scene was of my favs of Season 2. RIP my friend. U will b missed.”
In a statement to USA Today, Macchio said, “It’s a sad day for the Karate Kid/Cobra Kai family.”
Garrison began acting as a teen and landed The Karate Kid role in 1984 when he was 24. Garrison’s Tommy character was a member of the Cobra Kai dojo and a rival to Macchio’s Daniel LaRusso. One of Garrison’s most famous lines came during a scene in which he was taunting Macchio’s character by saying, “Get him a body bag! Yeah!”
Garrison reprised the role in the film’s sequel, The Karate Kid Part II, in 1986. Fittingly, his final acting credit was playing Tommy in the second season of the web series Cobra Kai earlier this year, in the episode “Take a Right.”
Rick Henriques, a rep for Garrison, told Entertainment Tonight that the late actor was an ambassador to The Karate Kid legacy.
“His performance in season two of Cobra Kai, being his last, was simply amazing and he stole the episode,” Henriques said.
While the original film was released more than three decades ago, the Cobra Kais remained tight over the years. In 2014, actor Billy Zabka, who played Cobra Kai villain and leader Johnny Lawrence in The Karate Kid, told FTW that Garrison had recently stayed at his house for a week.
“The guys that played all the Cobra Kais are some of my best friends, ” Zabka revealed at the time.
In 2018, Zabka reunited with Macchio and his other co-stars for the YouTube series Cobra Kai, and things came full circle with Rob Garrison’s cameo in 2019.
In March, The Karate Kid celebrated its 35th anniversary with a return to movie theaters.