TMZ reports that Brad Lesley, former MLB ballplayer-turned-1990s sports movies star, died on Saturday night after experiencing kidney failure. "The Animal," who was known for his humorous roles in "Space Jam," "Little Big League," and "Mr. Baseball" among a slew of others, was 54-years-old.
Lesley's ex-wife Chiho Svimonoff confirmed his death to TMZ. According to Svimonoff, Lesley had recently been suffering kidney problems - at the time of his passing he was living in a nursing home. He continued to receive dialysis in the seventh months he resided at the assisted living facility.
Svimonoff claims Lesley was rushed to a hospital in Marina Del Rey, CA on Saturday night (April 27) and later died from kidney failure.
The former MLB star played for the Cincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers from 1982-1985. Lesley was nicknamed "The Animal" for his aggressive playing style. After playing some ball in Japan, Lesley entered the entertainment bizz.
Lesley is best-known for his role as Ajimaru "Animal" Resry in the Japanese gameshow, "Takeshi's Castle" (remembered on Spike TV as Most Extreme Elimination Challenge, or MXC.)
He has also guest-starred in several sports films including "Brother" (2000), "Big Monster on Campus" (2000), "Buddy" (1997), "A Boy Called Hate" (1996), "Little Big League" (1994), Mr. Baseball (1992), and "Space Jam" (1996). Michael Jordan asked Lesley to star as himself in the popular "Looney Tunes" movie.
Thoughts and condolences go out to Lesley's family and friends during this time of loss.