Patrice O’Neal, 1969-2011

30 11 2011

If you give a kid a name like Patrice Lumumba Malcom O’Neal, he better have the personality to go with it. 

Lucky for us, the Boston native never disappointed — making a name for himself on the comedy circuit in the early 90s.  Coming up from open mic and amateur sets, O’Neal became known for his playfulness on stage — frequently veering away from prepared material to interact with/reacting to the audience or exploit a controversial tangent.

He was a regular on the “Opie & Anthony” radio show, appeared on sitcoms and in film, as well as featuring in several Comedy Central specials and programming, most recently the September 2011 Roast of Charlie Sheen (which was his last performance).

O’Neal, who was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 1993, suffered a stroke in late October. Complications from the incident are said to be responsible for his death.  His stature, 6’4″ and 300 lbs., while  beneficial to his act, contributed to his struggle with the disease. 

Hollywood gossip site TMZ was first to report the comedian’s passing, after having spoken with his rep Matt Frost.
“Many of us have lost a close and loved friend; all of us have lost a true comic genius,” Frost said.

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