Former child star Houston Tumlin, who’s best known for playing Will Ferrell’s son in “Talladega Nights,” has died by suicide at age 28.
The Shelby County Coroner’s Office confirmed to USA TODAY Wednesday that Tumlin died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his Pelham, Alabama home Tuesday.
Tumlin played Walker Bobby alongside Grayson Russell’s Texas Ranger Bobby, the two trash-talking sons of Ferrell’s iconic character in the 2006 NASCAR-themed comedy “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.” Despite the film’s PG-13 rating, Tumlin’s Walker frequently uses crude language like his father, including in a memorable family dinner scene.
“These kids are my grandchildren and you are raising them wrong. They are terrible boys,” Ted Manson’s Chip says. Ten -year-old Walker shoots back, “Shut up, Chip, before I go (expletive) on your (expletive).”
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Ferrell’s Ricky Bobby approves: “I love the way they are talking to you, because they are winners. Winners get to do what they want.”
In February, Tumlin shared a throwback photo on Instagram of himself and his onscreen brother posing at the premiere of “Talladega Nights.” He wrote, “Tell me a set of ‘brothers’ more handsome. I’ll wait.”
Tumlin’s girlfriend, Charity Robertson, mourned the former child star on Facebook.
“I’ve never experienced a hurt like this before. I feel numb, I feel defeated, I feel lost. I feel empty. 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!”
She continued: “One thing is for sure though, I have the absolute best guardian angel a girl could ever wish for cause everybody knows you don’t play about me. I love you so much Houston Lee & thank you for loving me so passionately and unapologetically for the time we had each other.”
If you or someone you know may be struggling with self-harm or suicidal thoughts, you can call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) any time day or night, or chat online.
Crisis Text Line also provides free, 24/7, confidential support via text message to people in crisis when they dial 741741.