November 29th, 2011
02:49 PM ET
The booking agent for Patrice O'Neal has confirmed to CNN that the comedian and entertainer died Tuesday morning following an illness. He was 41.
"Many of us have lost a close and loved friend; all of us have lost a true comic genius," O'Neal's agent says in a statement. "His mother, who was also his best friend, was at his side."
O'Neal's passing was due to complications from a stroke O'Neal suffered on October 19. According to People magazine, the stroke was related to diabetes.
The magazine adds that Opie (a.k.a. Gregg Hughes) of SiriusXM's "Opie and Anthony" show also confirmed the death, tweeting of the radio program's frequent guest Tuesday, "Yes it's true that our pal Patrice O'Neal has passed away. The funniest and best thinker i've ever known PERIOD. #devastated."
O'Neal, a Boston native who performed in a variety of comedy specials and appeared on late night talk shows as well as hits like "The Office," was also on hand to poke fun at Charlie Sheen in Comedy Central's "Roast" of the actor in September.
Comedy Central and Sheen joined in the chorus of mournful tweets Tuesday. The network posted, "RIP Patrice - we'll miss you," while Sheen wrote that "The entertainment world as well as the world at large lost a brilliant man today. Patrice had that rare 'light' around him and inside of him. I only knew him for the few days leading up the Roast. Yet I will forever be inspired by his nobility, his grace and his epic talent. my tears today are for the tremendous loss to his true friends and loving family."
"Saturday Night Live" star Seth Meyers wrote that "a day spent watching clips of him on-line is a day well spent," while comedian and actor Colin Quinn said, "Thanks to everybody for the Patrice ONeal comments. One of a kind. In heaven right now, charming half and infuriating half, then reversing."
Sandra Bernhard shared via Twitter, "[T]erribly sad to hear about patrice o'neal we had a great time on @thegreenroom a couple of years back thoughts go out to his family." Added Questlove of The Roots, "So grateful i got to see Patrice Oneal do his last NYC gig. man this is so devastating. he truly was one of my favorite comics. RIP Patrice."
In addition to his mother, the heralded comic is also survived by his wife, step-daughter and sister.
"The family wishes to thank all of the fans and friends who have expressed an outpouring of love and support for Patrice these past weeks," the statement from O'Neal's agent continues. "We ask that you please respect the family’s request for privacy at this difficult time."
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