FROM TMZ : Lister had been experiencing COVID symptoms in the days leading up to his death ... according to his manager, Cindy Cowan.

Cowan tells CNN that Tiny began feeling sick a week ago, but he got worse quickly -- couldn't breathe and felt very weak. Tommy was diagnosed with coronavirus earlier this year but had recovered from it.

She says he was supposed to work on a movie set last weekend but had to cancel due to his breathing difficulties, and he also canceled a Zoom appearance for a TV festival Wednesday. That night is when Cowan says friends and family tried to call and check on him, but their calls went on answered.

7:08 PM PT-- A release from The L.A. County Sheriff's Department says friends and business associates of Lister became worried Thursday when they hadn't heard from him since Wednesday night. Deputies performed a welfare check where they made their way into his apartment and found him dead.

At this point, cops say it's believed that Lister died of natural causes ... but an autopsy will be performed to determine an official cause of death.

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