Otis Perkins, best known in the powerlifting community as “Black Tom Cruise,” died at the age of 39 after a car accident earlier this month. He became widely known as one of Larry “Wheels” Williams first training partners while he was on his rise to fame in the sport. Williams shared the news himself in an Instagram post on July 24, 2021.
View this post on Instagram
“R.I.P @black_tom_cruise. The man brought laughs everywhere he went. Funniest man I ever met. He possessed all the traits of a GREAT friend,” Williams said. “I love him and hold him closer to almost anyone I know. It hurts to accept he’s gone. No matter what life threw at him he kept a smile and his head held high. Otis Perkins you will be missed.”
Wheels doesn’t state when Perkins passed away. On Sunday, July 11, 2021, Perkins was in a car accident that resulted in his car being flipped while he was inside. The top of the convertible was down, resulting in Perkins suffering injuries to his back and right eye that required surgery. Specifics regarding those injuries have not yet been reported.
At the time of the accident, people close to him believed he would survive, but his future in powerlifting was in serious question. While it’s believed that Perkins died as a result of the accident, an official cause of death had yet to be reported as of this writing. Comments and condolences filled Williams’ comment section from various members of the strength sports community once he shared the news.
“I am so sorry to hear brother.” – Jay Cutler, four-time Mr. Olympia
“Sorry to hear this. You and his family will be in our thoughts and prayers.” – Nick Best, strongman and powerlifter
“Damn!!! No words!! He was a solid one and I’m going to miss chopping it up about cars with him.” – KC Mitchell, a.k.a. “That 1 Leg Monster”
About Otis Perkins
Perkins was born on May 22, 1982 and lived in Brooklyn, New York. He had competed in powerlifting since 2015. According to Open Powerlifting, his last meet was the 2020 Heatwave Dead Weight competition as a part of the 140 kilogram class. He only competed in the deadlift portion of the meet and lifted 342.5 kilograms (755 pounds). His career best lifts are below.
While he was a competitor himself, Perkins’ recognition in the sport was often as one of Williams’ earliest training partners and friends. Perkins was also sponsored by Williams’ “Personal Record” brand. Williams had relocated to New York City from Dubai recently with the focus on preparing for his return to powerlifting competition this coming September.
Everyone at BarBend sends their condolences to Perkins’ family, friends, and fans.
Featured image: @black_tom_cruise on Instagram