Pernell Whitaker, a legendary boxer who was referred to by the nickname "Sweet Pea," died on Sunday after being hit by a car in Virginia.
He was 55 years old.
The Virginia Beach Police Department said in a press release early on Monday that Whitaker was crossing the intersection of Northampton Boulevard and Baker Road at approximately 10 p.m. last nightwhen a vehicle struck and killed him.
The famous athlete succumbed to his injuries at the scene of the accident.
"This remains an active investigation, no further information is available at this time," reads an update to the press release.
Whitaker was among the great boxers of his era, winning world titles at four different weight classes: lightweight, light welterweight, welterweight and light middleweight.
Pernell had just posed for a photo on Saturday with Floyd Mayweather, as the boxers both attended an autograph show in Virginia.
"R I P champ, one of the best fighters to ever do it," wrote Mayweather shortly after Whitaker was killed.
Whitaker started his professional career 1984 and continued to box through 2001, compiling a record of 40-4-1 record with 17 knockouts.
He also won a gold medal at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles and was named Fighter of the Year by Ring Magazine in 1989.
Between the years of 1993 to 1997, most knowledgable fans considered Whitaker to be the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
As for what transpired on Sunday evening?
Officials have told NBC News that police do not believe speed or alcohol played a role in the fatal collision, although investigators still must confer with prosecutors.
The driver of the vehicle remained at the scene to be interviewed by authorities during their investigation.
The Norfolk, Virginia, native was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2006.
In response to his shocking death, athletes from across various fields have reacted in stunned sadness on social media.
"Pernell 'Sweet Pea' Whitaker was in the class of Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard as one of the most entertaining fighters in my lifetime. I’m praying for his family," wrote Magic Johnson, for example.Ad
Added ex-NFL star Michael Vick, who's also from Virginia:
"'Sweet Pea' Whitaker was our hometown legend and the greatest of all time. My prayers are with his family and loved ones."
Reached Monday morning by phone, Pernell's youngest son, Devon Whitaker, could only offer so much after learning what had happened.
"I guess he was wearing dark clothes, the road was dark and the driver didn't see him," said the 23-year-old, adding that his dad was "cool" and concluding:
"That's all I can say about him. I can't really say how I'm feeling because I'm feeling shocked. I'm still trying to process everything that's going on. But he was a cool guy."
Whitaker is survived by four children: Tiara, Dominique, Dantavious and Devon.
He was predeceased by his son Pernell Jr., who died in 2015 after a battle with cancer.
May he rest in peace.
Stephanie Niznik, a peter actress best known for roles on Everwood and Star Trek: Insurrection, died unexpectedly in Encino, California on June 23.
She was 52 years old.
As of this writing, no official causre of death has been listed by Variety, which broke the sad news, or any other outlet.
Niznik rose to prominence due to her role of Nina Feeney, the neighbor of the Brown family and eventual love interest for Dr. Andy Brown (Treat Williams), on Everwood.
She portrayed this character for four seasons and recently returned for the show's 15th anniversary panel at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour in 2017.
It is from this event that we took the photos immediately above and below.
The actress was a native of Bangor, Maine.
She reportedly hoped to become a geneticist prior to graduating from Duke with majors in theater and Russian.
From there, Niznik pursued a masters at Cal Arts and then started acting with roles in programs such as Vanishing Son and Murder She Wrote. These roles marked the beginning of an impressive career on the small screen.
Niznik also appeared on Nash Bridges and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman before landing a recurring role on Diagnosis Murder.
Along with her work on Everwood, she enjoyed recurring roles on Life is Wild and made guest appearances on Lost, NCIS and CSI: Miami, some of the highest-rated series of their era.
As mentioned previously, Niznik will likely be best remembered for her extended time on Everwood.
But she also played Trill Starfleet Ensign Kell Perim in the feature film Star Trek: Insurrection, returning to the Star Trek universe to play the Wraith in the Rogue Planet episode of the series Star Trek: Enterprise.
Niznik also stopped by ABC for an important episode of Grey's Anatomy; she was on the backdoor pilot special for spinoff series Private Practice, playing Carol in the fan-favorite Season 3 installment.
She is survived by her mother and stepfather, brother and sister-in-law, her niece and nephews, aunt and uncle and her beloved dogs Nucleus and Jake.
May Stephanie Niznik rest in peace.
Tragic and shocking news today out of the television universe:
Cameron Boyce, a rising and popular actor best known for roles on Disney projects such as Descendants and Jessie, has been found dead.
He was only 20 years old.
According to a statement releasd by Boyce's family, the actor passed away in his sleep after suffering a seizure.
This is what the 20-year old's loved ones wrote in their heartfelt statement:
It is with a profoundly heavy heart that we report that this morning we lost Cameron.
He passed away in his sleep due to a seizure which was a result of an ongoing medical condition for which he was being treated
The world is now undoubtedly without one of its brightest lights, but his spirit will live on through the kindness and compassion of all who knew and loved him.
We are utterly heartbroken and ask for privacy during this immensely difficult time as we grieve the loss of our precious son and brother.
Boyce had been acting since he was nine years old and was deeply involved in charity work.
In March of this year, he was actually introduced former Vice President Joe Biden at the Biden Courage Awards.
He was also honored with the Pioneering Spirit Award at last year's Thirst Gala, sponsored by the Thirst Project, a nonprofit for which Boyce raised $30,000 to build wells for clean drinking water in Swaziland.
Cameron was a very impressive young man.
"We offer our deepest condolences to his family, castmates and colleagues and join his many millions of fans in grieving his untimely passing. He will be dearly missed,” a Disney Channel spokesperson said in response to the awful news.
After making his big screen debut in the film Mirrors, Boyce struck it big just two years later when he was cast as one of Adam Sandler's children in the movie Grown Ups.
He went on to achieve Disney stardom as one of the leads in show Jessie.
Boyce starred as Luke Ross alongside the eponymous Jessie Prescott, played by Debby Ryan on a series that ran for four seasons and 98 episodes.
His role in the Descendants films, which led cable TV film ratings in 2015 and 2017, catapulted him to even greater heights.
Here is a promotional photo from that franchise:
Added Disney Channel in its message:
"From a young age, Cameron Boyce dreamed of sharing his extraordinary artistic talents with the world. As a young man, he was fueled by a strong desire to make a difference in peoples' lives through his humanitarian work.
"He was an incredibly talented performer, a remarkably caring and thoughtful person and, above all else, he was a loving and dedicated son, brother, grandson and friend."
Boyce, who had 8.1 million followers on Instagram, was next set to appear in the HBO shows Mrs. Fletcher.
We send our condolences to his friends, family members and loved ones.
May Cameron Boyce rest in peace.
Shocking and sorrowful news out of the Major League Baseball universe today:
Tyler Skaggs, a starting pitcher for the Los Angele Angels, was found dead in his hotel room on Monday afternoon, hours before his team was scheduled to take on the Texas Rangers.
He was 27 years old.
No cause of death has been announced and authorities will soon conduct a thorough investigation, but sources confirm that no foul play is suspected in the tragic death.
“The Southlake Police Department responded to a call of an unconscious male in a room in the Hilton Hotel,” authorities confirmed in a statement this evening, adding:
“Officers arrived and found the male unresponsive and he was pronounced deceased at the scene.”
The game between the two teams was postponed for a later date.
And the Angels released a statement of their own that reads as follows:
It is with great sorrow that we report Tyler Skaggs passed away earlier today in Texas.
Tyler has, and always will be, an important part of the Angels family. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Carli and his entire family during this devastating time.
On Sunday, Skaggs shared a picture to his Instagram page featuring his Angels teammates, who were all dressed in cowboy attire, outside of an airport before their scheduled game against the Rangers.
"Howdy y’all #TexasRoadtrip," he wrote as a caption to the snapshot.
He had just taken to the mound to pitch on Saturday against the Oakland A's, giving up two runs in 4.1 innings.
Overall on the season, Skaggs has seven wins and seven losses and had compiled a 4.29 ERA.
For his career, Skaggs won 28 games in just over six years.
Skaggs was drafted by the Angels in the first round of the 2009 MLB Draft.
He made his professional debut in 2012 for the Arizona Diamondbacks, where he played until 2013, prior to returning to the Angels ... where he's played ever since (he missed the 2015 season due to surgery).
After this awful news went public, numerous athletes and fellow players reacted with shock on social media.
Wrote Bryce Harper:
"By far the nastiest prep arm I ever faced. My thoughts and prayers go out to Tyler's family! Gone too soon!"
And Treavor Bauer:
"We came up together. We won together. We laughed and celebrated together. Today, we all lose and mourn together. Your memory, your love for life, everything that made you, you, will live forever in the hearts and minds of those who knew you. Rest In Peace brother. We love you."
And Ender Inciarte:
"Terrible news. Unbelievable person and teammate. So sad to hear something like this. RIP brother."
Added the Rangers as an organization:
"The Texas Rangers organization wants to express its deepest sympathies to the family of Tyler Skaggs and to the entire Angels organization on this shocking loss.
"The thoughts and prayers of every member of the Texas Rangers and all of their fans are with the Angels organization at this difficult time."
Skaggs is survived by his wife, Carli Skaggs, and parents Debbie and Darrell Skaggs.
May he rest in peace.
Granger Smith has suffered the worst kind of personal tragedy.
The country music artist shared the “unthinkable” news on Twitter and Instagram Thursday afternoon, revealing to the public that his and wife Amber’s three-year-old son, River Kelly, has passed away.
Smith explained to his followers that River died as the result of a "tragic accident” where “despite doctor’s best efforts, he was unable to be revived.”
Wrote Smith in full:
I have to deliver unthinkable news. We’ve lost our youngest son, River Kelly Smith. Following a tragic accident, and despite doctor’s best efforts, he was unable to be revived.
Amber and I made the decision to say our last goodbyes and donate his organs so that other children will be given a second chance at life.
Our family is devastated and heartbroken, but we take solace in knowing he is with his Heavenly Father.
We truly cannot imagine what Smith and his loved ones must be going through.
“Riv was special,” the singer continued. “Everyone that met him knew that immediately. The joy he brought to our lives cannot be expressed and his light will be forever in our hearts.”
Concluded the singer:
“If there are words to say more, I cannot find them in this moment. Love the ones close to you. There has never been a more difficult moment for us than this.”
Smith has released nine studio albums, one live album and one EP.
He won the BMI Country Award for "Backroad Song" in 2016 and was nominated for Best New Country Artist a year later at the iHeartRadio Music Awards.
Alongside a selfie with her son, Amber shared the same heartbreaking caption as the one her husband wrote above, beginning it as follows:
“Nothing can prepare a mother to deliver this kind of news.”
She added at the end of this emotional message:
In lieu of flowers or gifts, please send donations to Dell Children’s Medical Center in River’s name. The doctors, nurses and staff have been incredible.
There are no further details at the moment regarding exactly what happened to River. We simply know that the accident took place on June 5 and that a 911 call was placed from the Smith's home in Texas.
In the wake of this awful news, country singers showed the couple their support as best they could.
“I’m here for you if you need anything at all bro just hit me up,” Kane Brown wrote, while Maren Morris added:
“I am so, so sorry. Thinking of you and your family at this time."
The couple, who got married in 2010, welcomed their daughter, London, one year later.
She became a big sister when Lincoln was born in 2014; and then River arrived two years later.
What a true and terrible tragedy.
We send our condolences to Granger Smith, his wife and all who knew their son well. May he rest in peace.
Daniel Wright, a former contestant on NBC's reality competition The Biggest Loser, died this week almost two years after first being diagnosed with cancer.
He was 30 years old.
Wright competed on the seventh season of the long-running weight-loss reality series.
He passed away on Sunday morning from leukemia, a multitude of his Biggest Loser costars sadly confirmed on social media.
“I am so so heartbroken to hear about Daniel Wright this morning. He has fought SO HARD during his battle with cancer & more,” former contestant Courtney Crozier Respess wrote on Facebook, for example.
“This man is one of the kindest people I have ever met & is a true difference maker in this world!
"His faith has never faded, even in the darkest of times. I am honored to have known him!!!"
Daniel was married to another former Biggest Loser Star, Rebecca Wright, who had been keeping fans apprised on her husband's health on her Facebook page.
In her most recent update on May 24, she said Wright's doctors were doing an endoscopy at the hospital and asked fans for prayers.
The prognosis did not sound positive.
"So last night Daniel Wright had a lot of blood clots come out of his stool &this morning he threw up blood so they are doing a Endoscopy here in the next couple of hours to find the source of the bleed & then clamp,band,flush,or cauterize the source," the post read.
"This comes with complications be cause he is so sick but more if we do nothing!"
Rebecca continued at this time:
"Yesterday, the Lord broke me down & today because of your prayers & my pleading our Lord has made me warrior strong!! I will let you know when they will be doing the procedure as soon as I know.
"He is much more alert today but still quite foggy. Once that’s all finished they’re going to be switching him back to the CVVHD or continuous dialysis because he's so weak and we need to get him to make that urine!!
"Man alive this is insane & alone seems impossible but with GOD all things are possible. THANK YOU for your prayers & well wish I adore you all!!!!"
Wright was initially diagnosed in October of 2017.
He had started to return to work and to regain some normalcy in his life ... when he relapsed with a more severe case of leukemia in December of 2018, according to his GoFundMe page, which remains active.
Within 24 hours of this relapse, Wright was transported by ambulance to an Iowa City hospital,.
This is where he spent nearly four weeks dealing with “fevers, infections, low blood counts, chemotherapy side effects, and attempts with immunotherapy treatments,” the GoFundMe states.
Wrote Season 12’s Joe Mitchell as a tribute tribute to his friend on Monday.
He's pictured here with Rebecca, shortly after leaving the hospital earlier this year:
Wrote Season 12’s Joe Mitchell as a tribute tribute to his friend on Monday:
“Please keep Rebecca Wright and her family in your thoughts and prayers. After a long heroic fight, my fellow Biggest Loser and Browns fan Daniel Wright is at peace now in our Lord and Saviors arms.
"He was a hero and a man of faith who inspired so many, including me, during his short time on this earth.
"He and his lovely bride showed the whole world what true love, faith and commitment are all about and he will be truly missed."
May Daniel Wright rest in peace.
Ashley Massaro, a former WWE Superstar who also competed on a season of Survivor, died early Thursday morning.
She was 39 years old.
The aforementioned professional organization confirmed this sad piece of news in a Tweet that reads as follows:
We are saddened to learn of the tragic death of former WWE Superstar Ashley Massaro. WWE offers its condolences to Ashley’s family and friends.
She performed in WWE from 2005-2008 and was beloved by her fellow Superstars and fans around the world. WWE offers its condolences to Ashley’s family and friends.
According to TMZ, Massaro was transported from her home in Suffolk County, New York to a local hospital several hours ago -- but few other details are available at this time.
The officials who spoke to this celebrity gossip website would not reveal the cause of death, but told TMZ that it's being classified as "non-criminal.
Massaro famously won the WWE's 2005 Raw Diva Search, earning herself a contract with the company at the time for one year at a $250,000 salary.
She went on to become a valet for WWE tag team champions Paul London and Brian Kendrick.
She also competed against Melina at Wrestlemania in 2007 and, later that same year, Massaro appeared on the cover of Playboy, an honor that was announced on an episode of Smackdown.
Along with starring as a contestant on Survivor: China in 2007, Massaro had small roles on Smallville and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.
The Blast, meanwhile, has obtained dispatch audio of a call placed to paramedics in which they are told of unconscious female at 5:23 a.m. today.
These paramedics proceeded to administer CPR on the way to the hospital.
Massaro cut ties with WWE in 2008, although she returned for a stint with a lesser known pro wrestling company in 2017.
She leaves behind one daughter.
"This is just awful news," wrote WWE legend Mick Foley upon learning of the news, adding on Twitter:
"Ashley Massaro is gone. She was only 39. She lived in the same town as me...I loved seeing her around. She was always so nice...and now she’s gone. #RIPAshleyMassaro."
Added a wrestler named Bull James:
This sucks. Ashley just started training at NYWC & was SO excited about wrestling again.
Always had a smile on her face & was one of the most down to Earth people you could meet. If you’re going through tough times, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. RIP Ashley Massaro.
We'll update this story as more news breaks.
May Ashley Massaro rest in peace.
Pua Magasiva, an actor who has starred in multiple Power Rangers television shows, as well as the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street, sadly passed away this.
He was 38 years old.
Details about what transpired are still being made known, but here is what we've learned so far:
The New Zealand Herald writes that police were called to a home in Wellington, New Zealand early on Saturday morning... where they found Magasiva unresponsive.
An official spokesperson for the police department told the newspaper that they found “no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death,” and that it would soon be referring the case to the coroner.
Magasiva portrayed the Shane Clarke, the Red Wind Ranger, in "Power Rangers Ninja Storm," which marked the 11th television installment of the popular superhero franchise.
The Samoan-born actor had also appeared as nurse Vinnie Kruse in hundreds of episodes of "Shortland Street," one of New Zealand's most popular daytime dramas.
He debuted in the role in 2003, at the height of his fame, and has starred in the show since his return in 2012.
"We are all absolutely devastated at the tragic news regarding Pua Magasiva," the soap opera's production company wrote on social media Saturday, adding:
"Pua was a much loved member of the South Pacific Pictures' family for many years and our hearts and thoughts go out to Pua's family at this time."
For Magasiva, this family is comprised of wife Lizz Sadler, a seven-year-old daughter from his previous marriage; and his brother Robbie. (Sadler also has a daughter from a previous relationship.)
Magasiva and Sadler got married last April, nearly 10 months after meeting in October of 2016, according to Flava, a New Zealand radio station where Magasiva had co-hosted a morning show prior to his death.
The pair had met after Sadler began following the actor on Instagram.
"Family is everything! Through the struggles, troubles through it all they will always be there for you... I love you all to the moon and back #mylove," wrote Magasiva as a caption to the sweet photo above last April.
He last posted to Instagram several days prior to his death, when he and his loved ones took a trip together outside Wellington.
This photo is from that vacation:
Wrote Power Rangers co-star Jason Chan on Facebook after this tragic news went public:
"Incredibly sad to hear that one of our ranger family is gone. It will never be the same again. PUA you will be so dearly missed.
"You were the center of energy on set and off. Always laughing, giggling and involved in practical jokes."
Added Shane Cortese, one of Magasiva’s co-stars from the television program Outrageous Fortune:
May Pua Magasiva rest in peace.
Very sad news today out of the television world.
Troy Dean Shafer, best known as the contractor and host of DIY Network’s restoration series Nashville Flipped, passed away in his sleep on April 28.
He was 38 years old.
The reality star's brother, Tim, told TMZ that there were no warning signs and no previous medical conditions that would have given anyone close to Shafer cause to be concerned.
The family remains in shock over the heartbreaking news.
This same gossip website reports that the coroner's office in Erie, Pennsylvania had not yet performed an autopsy on Troy's body -- but a toxicology report will be finalized in the weeks ahead.
Until then, those close to Shafer and those who worked with him will remain perplexed over what transpired.
"The DIY Network family is sorry to hear about the passing of Troy Dean Shafer, a dedicated, driven entrepreneur and restoration expert who was admired by everyone who worked on the series," the network has said in a statement, concluding:
"We continue to extend our deepest condolences to Troy's family and friends during this difficult time."
Shafer was laid to rest in a small ceremony last week.
He graduated from Penn State University and had actually moved to Nashville to pursue a career in singing.
Ultimately, though, he utilized his construction skills and pitched a home renovation show based in this beloved city, one that focused on homes from the 1800s and early 1900s.
The series, Nashville Flipped, also starred Rob Kuskin and Sean Roberge and premiered in April of 2017.
A year earlier, Shafer opened about his many TV offers but said many had been looking for a “character" -- and that just wasn't him.
“They were looking for some over-the-top drama, and I get it. That makes good TV, and that’s the way a lot of house flipping shows are, but that’s definitely not me,” he told The Nashville Ledger at the time, adding:
“I’m not dramatic, and even if I was, I wouldn’t go on TV and broadcast it, because the show may last one year, but I need this company to last.
"I want to pass this down to kids.
"I don’t want anyone thinking anything other than who I really am.”
Shafter was partly popular due to this sort of attitude; simply put, he kept things real.
Meanwhile, according to Erie County Coroner Lyell Cook, there's a very good chance that drugs played a role in this unexpected passing.
“Given the situation, we strongly suspect drugs were involved and a factor in his death,” Cook told Radar Online.
However, he will not know for certain until the results of the toxicology report come back.
Shafter is survived by his parents, Timothy and Janey Shafer; his brother Tim; as well as a niece, cousins, aunts and uncles - and his wife, Becky, who he married in 2014.
May he rest in peace.
Rachel Held Evans, a very popular Christian author whose interesting work went against traditional conservative beliefs, passed away early Saturday morning after a lengthy hospitalization.
She was 37 years old.
The tragic news was shared and confirmed by husband Dan, who told fans on his wife's website that Rachel was “slowly weaned from” her medically induced coma after experiencing massive brain swelling.
This condition proved, ultimately, to be "not survivable.”
“This entire experience is surreal. I keep hoping it’s a nightmare from which I’ll awake. I feel like I’m telling someone else’s story,” Dan wrote, prior to thanking his Rachel's friends, family members and followers for their continued prayers and support:
“I cannot express how much the support means to me and our kids.
"To everyone who has prayed, called, texted, driven, flown, given of themselves physically and financially to help ease this burden: Thank you.
"We are privileged. Rachel’s presence in this world was a gift to us all and her work will long survive her."
A Dayton, Tennesee native, Rachel penned such best-selling books as “Searching for Sunday” and “Faith Unraveled."
Other well-known works included ''A Year of Biblical Womanhood" and “Inspired," as her website said Evans wrote about "faith, doubt and life in the Bible Belt."
She often challenged the evangelical community by addressing sexism and racism and "championing voices of people who have been marginalized in the church," including the LGBTQ community, said Sarah Bessey, a writer and friend of Rachel's.
This turned the author into a hero to many readers and a polarizing presence in the religious community to her critics.
Evans was in the hospital for about three weeks prior to her passing.
On April 14, she announced on Twitter that she was in the hospital “with a flu + UTI combo” and had also contracted a “severe allergic reaction to the antibiotics” she had been given.
At the time, the wroter lamented that she wouldn’t be able to watch the Game of Thrones final season premiere live that evening.
Several days later, on April 19, it was clear that something was seriously wrong.
This is when Dan delivered his first update on his wife’s health, writing that while she was receiving treatment for an infection, Rachel started “exhibiting unexpected symptoms,” which included “constant seizures.”
Evans made headlines when she explained in a blog post that she left the evangelical church in 2014 to focus on building a new church community that would accept women as ministers, gay Christians and “those who refuse to choose between their intellectual integrity and their faith.”
This was considered a novel concept at the time.
He still is, in the eyes of many.
Evans also served on President Barack Obama's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
She spoke at churches, conferences and universities around the country.
On April 28, two days after Evans had been transported to another facility, her husband updated fans once again.
He said that doctors were working to “find a combination of medicines” that would allow her to be slowly “weaned from the coma medication.”
Two days after this, Dan shared that physicians had begun the process of bringing Evans out of her coma...
... and that was the last we heard from him, until he announced that his wife had died.
Evans is survived by her husband, as well as their two young children: a three-year son and a daughter, who will turn 1 later this month.
She was surrounded by her loved ones when she passed away.
May Rachel Held Evans rest in peace.
Ian Cognito, a popular British stand-up comedian, passed away on Thursday night while performing a routine at the Atic bar in Bicester, England.
He was 60 years old.
According to the bar’s owner, Ryan Mold, per an interview with CNN, Cognito “sat down” at one point in his set, “put his head and arms back; his shoulders were twitching.”
The crowd presumed it was part of his act initially, as Cognito had joked about his health shortly beforehand.
“Imagine if I died in front of you lot here,” he actually, incredibly told attendees.
An ambulance was quickly called after it was clear this was a serious situation because a fellow comedian realized something was legitimately wrong.
Cognito was pronounced dead at the scene upon the arrival of the paramedics.
Andrew Bird, who runs the Lone Wolf Comedy Club, told BBC News that Cognito was not feeling well before he went on stage, yet he wanted to perform anyway.
Cognito began performing as a comic in the mid-1980s.
He was best known for envelope-pushing comedy, claiming to have been banned from more clubs than any other comedian in all of Great Britain.
One of his signature bits involved hammering a nail into the wall and hanging his hat on it.
“This lets you know two things about me,” he explained. “Firstly, I really don’t give a sh-t. Secondly, I’ve got a hammer.”
That’s pretty funny.
Cognito earned Time Out Comedy Award in 1999, earning respect of countless comedians over the years.
Many of them paid tribute to him on social media after learning of Cognito’s death.
Tweeted Jack Whitehall:
“Gigged with him when i first started out and he was always so much fun, had his own mythology on the circuit his exploits where [sic] legendary. A true maverick. Hope he’s found somewhere to hang his coat in heaven.”
And Jimmy Carr:
“I’ll never forget his kindness when I started out & how god damn funny he was.”
And Matt Lucas:
“He was always kind to me when I started out, and brilliant and provocative and entirely original onstage. What a loss.”
We echo the sentiments of those who knew Ian Cognito.
We send our condolences to his friends, family members and loved ones.
May he rest on stage.
Chalk it up to drugs to lifestyle or to some unknown factor, but the following big names in music all left this planet far too soon.
Scroll around below to see at what age they passed away and from what cause.
And join us in hoping they rest in peace...
1. Nipsey Hussle
2. Kurt Cobain
3. Mac Miller
4. Janis Joplin
5. Jimi Hendrix
6. Scott Weiland
As you've likely heard by now, hip hop icon Nipsey Hussle was murdered outside a store he owned in Los Angeles on Sunday.
He was just 33 years old.
For the past 48 hours, Hussle's death has dominated headlines and social media feeds for two distinct reasons:
1. The rapper's music and philanthropy made him an indispensable part of the hip hop community and a role model to millions.
2. Hussle's killer remains at large, and his murder is viewed as symptomatic of the growing gun violence problem in America and the unique challenges facing neighborhoods such as Nipsey's native South Los Angeles.
While a suspect in Hussle's shooting has been identified, the Los Angeles Police Department is still gathering facts as the manhunt for 29-year-old alleged gang member Eric Holder continues.
Today, that meant releasing the results of an autopsy that confirmed the tragic cause of Hussle's death:
According to a report released this morning, Hussle "was found to have died from gunshot wounds of the head and torso."
The LA County Coroner's office added that Hussle was shot and then "taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead at 3:55 p.m."
"The manner of death was certified as a homicide," the department wrote.
This statement aligns with tweets posted by the LAPD in the moments after the shooting:
"At approximately 3:20 pm there was a shooting reported in the area of Slauson Ave and Crenshaw Blvd. 3 victims were transported to a local hospital where one was pronounced deceased," police tweeted Sunday afternoon.
"We have no suspect info at this time and will provide more details as they become available."
The department has been praised for its diligence and transparency in this matter, as well as for keeping the public apprised on the investigation.
The LAPD tweeted yesterday that it would be forgoing its annual April Fools' joke "in light of yesterday's events" so that they might better focus "on bringing justice to yesterday's homicide on Slauson & Crenshaw in South LA."
Hussle dedicated much of his life to bettering the neighborhood he grew up and helping to curtail gang violence.
He was scheduled to meet with LAPD officials to discuss these matters just one day after he was gunned down.
"Having strong enemies is a blessing," he ominously wrote on Instagram just hours before his passing.
We'll have further updates on this developing story as more information becomes available.
Nipsey Hussle, a Grammy-nominated rapper just this past year, was shot dead outside of his own clothing boutique in Los Angeles on Sunday afternoon.
He was 33 years old.
A multitude of insiders told TMZ and NBC News that the artist was among three victims struck by bullets in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, with the LAPD writing the following Tweet:
"At approximately 3:20 pm there was a shooting reported in the area of Slauson Ave and Crenshaw Blvd. 3 victims were transported to a local hospital where one was pronounced deceased."
The incident took place outside of the Marathon Store he opened back in 2017.
It wasn't immediately known whether Hussle, whose real name is Ermias Ashgedom, had survived the shooting, as all three victims were taken to a local hospital and two were listed in stable condition.
(Police said a male suspect fled by car and, as of this writing, had not yet been apprehended.)
However, NBC News has now Tweeted that Hussle has, indeed, been prounounced dead.
The outlet quotes "multiple law enforcement sources" in making this statement, as you can see below:
Right before being killed, Hussle appeared to acknowledge some sort of beef or feud, Tweeing the following just a few hours ago:
Having strong enemies is a blessing.
The rapper hails from the Crenshaw area of California and has been rumored to possess ties to the Crips.
But TMZ notes that he's made music with both YG and The Game, both of whom have been ties to Bloods; having gang ties of any kind, it ought to be noted, is pure speculation at this point.
We cannot say for certain if these affiliations exist or if they played any role in Hussle's murder.
(UPDATE: TMZ now writes with confidence that the homicide WAS gang-related, stating that the shooter walked right up to Hussle and shot him on the street; he then ran to a waiting vehicle.)
Hussle's debut studio album, "Victory Lap," was nominated for Best Rap Album at this year's Grammy Awards. (He lost out to Cardi B in this category.)
Prior to this release, he had come out with numerous mixtapes over the course of a decade-long career.
In September of 2018, gunfire also rang out nearby Hussle's clothing store. But he was not around at that time.
The rapper and actress Lauren London are the parents of a two-year-old child; he has another kid from a previous relationship.
As the sad word spread that Hussle had been shot, numerous performers and athletes, including LeBron James, 50 Cent and Steph Curry, quickly tweeted best wishes.
Wrote Curry, prior to learning that the star was dead: God please cover and restore @NipseyHussle right now!!
And 50 Cent: Thoughts and prayers for @NipseyHussle
James. meanwhile, simply included a series of exclamation points after tagging Hussle's Twitter handle.
Drake, for his emotional part, wrote this on Instagram after Hussle was confirmed to have passed:
F-ck. My whole energy is just at a low right now hearing this. We just linked for the first time in years and said we were gonna do a new song this summer cause it had been too long.
You were having the best run and I was so happy watching from distance fam nobody ever talks down on your name you were a real one to your people and to the rest of us. I’m only doing this here cause I want the world to know I saw you as a man of respect and a don.
Rest easy my g.
May Nipsey Hussle rest in peace.
UPDATE: TMZ and many other outlets have also confirmed Hussle's death.
Meek Mill has said the loss "broke me," writing on social media:
"We really fighting for our lives against our own kind and really have to take risk and match the level of hatred that we are born in .. I'm tired. prayers for my brother and his family."
Pharrell Williams tweeted:
“You were about something..positive and for your community in every chance you had to speak..and because of that You inspired millions..millions who will uphold your legacy forever. rest amongst the stars.”
Rihanna first posted this photo of Nipsey and his daughter...
... and then wrote as a caption:
"This doesn’t make any sense! My spirit is shaken by this! Dear God may His spirit Rest In Peace and May You grant divine comfort to all his loved ones!
"I’m so sorry this happened to you @nipseyhussle."
We send our condolences to his friends, loved ones and relatives.
Terrible news broke on Saturday, March 3, as it was revealed that popular contestant on The Voice, Janice Freeman, had passed away at 33.
The TV and music worlds were shocked by Janice's sudden death, which was reportedly caused by a blood clot.
However, more details have since been released regarding the cause behind the singer's tragic passing.
Documents now report that The Voice star died from a pulmonary embolism, according to her death certificate.
The 33-year-old mother also suffered from lupus which was a contributing factor and had battled many health issues throughout her life, including another autoimmune disease called Sjogren's syndrome.
She also had meningitis and even beat cervical cancer, according to E! News.
Once her husband, Dion, realized his wife had stopped breathing, he reportedly called 911 and had to perform CPR on his wife until paramedics arrived.
Janice was pronounced dead at a local hospital around 5:30 p.m.
Freeman is survived by Dion, her 12-year-old daughter Hannah, her mother Janice, brothers and sisters, and many extended family members.
She had made it all the way to the final 11 on NBC'S The Voice for season 13 and was coached by Miley Cyrus.
The pop singer expressed her sorrow following Freeman's death online and even spoke at her celebration of life earlier this week.
She and her father Billy Ray Cyrus performed "Amazing Grace" at the ceremony.
"Before we sing this song for Janice, I just want to clear up a rumor. I was never her coach, ever, she was always mine," Cyrus said holding back tears.
"I've learned more from her than anyone that I've ever gotten the honor to be in the room with, not just vocally, I should've gotten more lessons than I did, but she taught me everything that I know about love."
The Malibu singer continued by saying, "And, to be here, and I had planned on singing a song for her, but just losing her is just too much for me."
"So my dad's gonna take care of this for me. But, I'll always be your sister, I'm here for you, and I'm here for your family, and Janice I'll miss you more than I could ever say."
Freeman and Cyrus were more than just partners on a reality competition show, they actually developed a genuine friendship.
According to Janice, Miley Cyrus took care of her family's security deposit for a temporary two-bedroom apartment to live in early last year, along with the first six months of rent.
Freeman was quick to acknowledge her sincere gestures on Instagram saying, "Miley, you are my dawg, like, my best friend, and I will defend you to the bitter end."
She even spoke through tears in an Instagram video saying, "This woman blessed me to be able to move in. Do you understand? What she don't know is, I've been praying for her."
The day after Miley heard about her dear friend's passing, she shared a photo to Instagram of a beautiful rainbow.
Captioning it, "You are now a rainbow. Something beautiful that comes after something so gloomy."
Rest easy, Janice. Your voice and energy were an inspiration to us all.
Tragic news today out of the music industry:
Justin Carter, a rising country artist, died this week due to an accidental shooting that took place in Texas.
He was 35 years old.
According to a local ABC affiliate, Carter passed away after a prop gun (being used as part of a music video shoot) went off in his apartment.
Mark Atherton of Triple Threat Management, with whom Carter had recently signed, told ABC13 in Houston of the late singer:
"Justin had a potential to, you know, in our eyes, and a lot of people's eyes to be the next Garth Brooks."
The sad news went public on Thursday but a message was shared on Carter's Instagram page on March 17 that reads as follows:
Please Keep Justin’s Family In Your Prayers & Give Them Privacy In This Hard Time. Justin Is No Longer With Us, He Has Passed Away. He Will Be Missed By Us All.
He Was Always Full Of Joy, Laughter, And Loved On So Many People In His Life. Justin Appreciated All His Fans And Their Support. Justin Loved All Of You.
Thank You All For Your Support! We Will Have More Details Releasing Soon On How You Can Help Donate & Help His Family With Burial And Everything!
Rest In Heaven My Brother!
Carter's mother also spoke to ABC11, telling the outlet of her son:
"His music was his world. He was always there for everybody."
She added in a separate interview with Fox News:
"He was a wonderful artist. He was the voice, he was the total package and we’re trying to keep his legend [alive]… He just loved music, he was very gifted and by God, his voice was spectacular."
Atherton, meanwhile, added that he "doesn't know too many details" about the accidental shooting -- except that, as previously mentioned, it occurred during production of a video.
He also described his new client as “kind of like the class clown, but when it was time to get down to business, he got down to it.”
On his official Facebook bio, Carter listed Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams, Clay Walker, Garth Brooks and George Strait among his favorite artists.
This same profile also says that Carter’s passion came from “the sound of old country, and he clings to that feeling he gets when he hears it and tries to push that into his music.”
Carter, according to that page, had just finished his solo album.
Over a six-month period, he wrote, produced and recorded over 30 songs.
Carter was an Army veteran, and his mother has set up a fund to solicit funeral expenses while waiting to see whether his service qualifies for VA assistance.
"Justin always wanted to reach the top,” reads a statement posted on the singer’s Facebook page. “It’s unfortunate it has to be this way, but Justin’s name is worldwide now & his music.”
Our thoughts go out to Carter's friends, family members and loved ones.
May he rest in peace.
Mike Thalassitis, a former reality star who competed on the third season of the British series Love Island, tragically passed away on Friday.
He was 26 years old.
The BBC reported that Thalassitis’ death was confirmed by his management company, although we have no direct quote from that company ourselves.
There has been no announced cause of death, either.
As mentioned above, Thalassitis competed on the third season of the British reality show back in 2017, where he became known as "Muggy Mike."
He also appeared on Celebs Go Dating a year later in 2018.
According to the Daily Mailt, the ex-reality star was found dead on Friday in his hometown of Essex. That's all the information any outlet appears to have thus far on what transpired.
As far as his biography goes...
Thalassitis was a semi-pro soccer player who played on teams such as Chelmsford City F.C. and St. Albans City F.C.
A London-born athlete, he remained very close to a handful of his Love Island co-stars, many of whom mourned the loss on social media on Saturday.
Johnny Mitchell shared an especially long and poignant tribute.
"I genuinely can't believe what I'm seeing here," he wrote alongside a photo of the two friends smiling.
"My boy from the villa and one of my best mates from the show coming out. An absolute hero and a legend and someone I looked up to since I met him, always full of so much positivity and charisma.
"One of the best people I've ever known taken from us far too soon, I'm heartbroken and can't put into words how much I'm gonna miss you bro!
Here is the photo Mitchell included along with those very kind words:
Elsewhere, Love Island host Caroline Flack referred to Thalassitis a "total gentleman" in her post about him on Instagram.
And Rachel Fenton, another competitor, tweeted: "I'm lost for words. My heart breaks for your family."
Stevenage FC, a soccer team Thalassitis played for during his career, shared its own tribute. It reads:
"Everybody at #StevenageFC is shocked & saddened to hear the tragic news about former player Michael Thalassitis. Our sincerest condolences go to his family & friends."
According to the BBC, Thalassitis was previously in a relationship with The Only Way Is Essex star and country singer Megan McKenna.
Last June, another former Love Island contestant named Sophie Gradon, also passed away.
May Mike Thalassitis rest in peace.
Dr. Jim Raman, an orthodontist who completed on the 25th season of The Amazing Race, died this past Monday in South Carolina, multiple outlets have confirmed.
He was 42 years old.
According to local authorities, Raman's body was discovered in his home, with Lexington County Coroner Margaret Fisher confirming the tragic news in a statement to WIS-TV that reads:
"Nothing suspicious or criminal is involved with the case you are referencing and out of compassion and respect for family, my office will not comment on it.”
Raman was a native of Irmo, South Carolina and he competed on the long-running CBS reality show in 2014.
He partnered on the global competition with his wife, Misti, finishing in second place overall and winning five of the show's 12 stages.
The couple shared two kids, Lexi and Jimmy.
After their stint on The Amazing Race - on a season that included surfer Bethany Hamilton and country artist Whitney Duncan - they worked together at Irmo Smiles, a dental practice in South Carolina.
The company confirmed the news of Jim’s death in a statement of its own:
Irmo Smiles has suffered a tragic loss this week. It is with deep sadness that we share the news of the passing of Dr. Jim Raman.
As our staff and the family prepare for Dr. Raman’s celebration of life, please join us in praying for peace and comfort during this difficult time.
Your patience is greatly appreciated as we give Dr. Misti Raman time to grieve the loss of her loving husband.
Officials have not released a cause or manner of death, but are continuing to investigate what transpired.
Police were called to the Raman family home at 4:30 a.m. on March 12, Lexington County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Captain Adam Myrick has told WIS-TV, adding simply that Raman was found dead on the scene.
Jim was a graduate of the University of South Carolina.
He received his doctorate in dental medicine from the Medical University of South Carolina’s College of Dental Medicine.
According to obituary published online, funeral services are scheduled to take place at a church in Irmo on Saturday, March 16.
In 2018, Raman wrote a “Letter to the Editor” to The State about his autistic son, urging South Carolina to do more to provide health care coverage for autistic patients.
"As a parent, I would give anything to remove the burden of autism from his life," Jim wrote at the time.
Such sad news.
We send our condolences to his friends, family members and loved ones.
May Dr. Jim Raman rest in peace.
A former Miss Teen Universe has tragically passed away at the young age of 19.
Model Lotte van der Zee, from Holland, was on a family ski trip when she suffered a fatal heart attack.
Her parents, Bert van der Zee and Eugeniek van het Hul shared the devastating news through their daughter's Instagram account.
"Our pearl, our everything passed away on Wednesday evening March 6th at 22:47," they captioned the post.
"It is incredibly surreal that our dearly beloved Lotte is not around us anymore. Our hearts are truly broken."
The Dutch model passed away a day before her 20th birthday, according to E! News.
During the family trip to Austria, her parents spoke with a Dutch newspaper where they reported that "Lotte started to feel unwell throughout the course of the afternoon."
They said their daughter had been out with friends the night before her heart attack but that she had returned "cheerfully and without health complaints."
But she did not show up for breakfast the next morning and when her parents went to check on her, they found her sick in bed.
They wrote on Lotte's Instagram account that her sickness "swiftly escalated in sudden cardiac arrest" later that day.
She was resuscitated by her mother and rushed to a nearby hospital before being placed into a coma where she was kept asleep under intensive supervision by the doctors in order to monitor her health.
The young model was then transferred to a special hospital in Munich, Germany where she began suffering organ failure, according to reports.
Since their daughter's unexpected passing, her parents have received an incredible amount of messages.
"We would like to thank you all again for all the support and heartwarming messages."
The 19-year-old won the Miss Teenager Universe title back in 2017.
The pageant's social media account sent their sympathy, writing, "Losing someone we loved is not easy, but knowing that we have been able to be part of her life, it has been [an] amazing journey," they wrote.
"Our deepest condolences to your family and friends."
Her family told the newspaper that tests are still being carried out to determine what exactly caused her heart attack.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Lotte's family and friends at this time.
Tragic news today out of the music and television world:
Janice Freeman, a beloved contestant on The Voice in 2017, died on Saturday evening of complications related to a blood clot.
She was 33 years old.
According to TMZ, who spoke to the singer's family, Freeman was at home in West Covina with her husband, Dion, when she began to have trouble beathing.
Dion reportedly called 911 and had to perform CPR on his wife until paramedics arrived.
Janice was then pronounced dead around 5:30 p.m. at a local hospital.
"We are heartbroken to report that Janice Marie Freeman passed away on March 2, 2019 from an extreme case of pneumonia," Freeman's rep told E! News and other outlets.
Continues this statement:
"She was a survivor and fighter, and a beautiful force in this world. Janice gained notoriety through her success on NBC's The Voice as a member of Miley Cyrus's team.
"Her story inspired fans nationwide, having successfully battled cervical cancer and living her life to the fullest while fighting lupus."
Freeman also overcame cervical cancer and meningitis, but this blood clot allegedly traveled to her lungs and there was nothing that could be done to save her.
The artist advanced all the way to the final 11 on Season 13 of The Voice.
She was a member of Team Miley Cyrus and stayed in close touch with the superstar, actually sharing an emotional thank you video dedicated to Cyrus after the celebrity assisted Freeman and her loved ones when they were searching for a place to live last year.
“Thank you ALL but she found us placement until we found permanent housing, gave me the deposit, covered me for 6 months so I can get on my feet!” Freeman tweeted at the time, adding:
“@MileyCyrus you are one of my closest friends and what you did for me and my family Im praying GOD gives you the desire of your heart!”
Wrote Miley as a caption to the photo below, upon learning of Freeman's death:
Thank you @janicefreeman.. for everything. This represents you perfectly.”
She's referring, as you can see here, to the picture of a rainbow.
Concludes the statement from Freeman's rep:
"Her friends and family greatly appreciate your prayers, call, and texts during this time, and ask that they be given space to remember everything that Janice was to them as they process and mourn her loss.
"She is survived by her husband Dion, daughter Hannah, her mother Janice, brothers and sisters , and many extended family."
In response to this awful piece of news, Jennifer Hudson also commented on Instagram.
"@janicefreeman the voice of hers we got to hear and the bit of life we got to watch her live was a blessing and inspiration to us all!" the Oscar winner wrote.
"My heart and prayers go out to @janicefreeman daughter and family ! @mileycyrus @nbcthevoice #ripjanicefreeman"
Just a few weeks ago, meanwhile, Freeman shared her own heartfelt message on Instagram.
This is what she wrote:
"I want to give ALL praises to THE FATHER for this healing process! It has been a difficult, trying, discouraging, mentally draining, etc last 3 months I have had to deal with in a very long time!
"But God is FAITHFUL and HE is healing my body and I'm starting to see a little clearly again!... I'm so grateful and overwhelmed because HE loves me so in spite of me deserving it or not."
This is so awful.
May Janice Freeman rest in peace.
We'll update this story if we learn any new information about what transpired.
And we send our condolences to Freeman's friends and loved ones.
Precious Harris, the older sister of rapper and VH1 reality show star T.I., died on Friday of injuries she sustained in a car accident several days prior.
She was 66 years old.
According to TMZ and other outlets, Harris was involved in an awful wreck in Atlanta last week -- and the news of her tragic passing was shared yesterday by her daughter.
This is what she wrote as confirmation:
"From my best friend on earth to My beautiful angel in heaven.
"I love you so much. I’m so heartbroken but the way you looked so @ peace this past week has confirmed that you are resting... no more asthma attacks... damn but baby I am going to miss you."
Harris has reportedly been on life support ever since the crash.
She never regained consciousness.
T.I. and his wife, Tiny Harris, are devastated by Precious's passing, numerous insider say.
The family, whose lfe has been chronicled on the series T.I. of T.I. & Tiny: Friends & Family Hustle, is extremely close.
Harris leaves behind three children: Kayama Chapman, Avis Chapman-Reese and Kareem “Plug” Chapman.
The latter went on to memorialize his mother in his own touching tribute, writing on Instagram:
“I got to spend 38 amazing years with this Angel but today my Mom made her transition to be with the Lord.
"Cherish your time yall as my mom @preciousharris1913 did! She danced, she loved and most importantly she LIVED.
"Im gone miss the s— out of this woman! Pray for our family, myself @[email protected] @the.leading.man.”
T.I. himself has not yet spoken on this tragedy, but the rapper (born Clifford Joseph Harris Jr.) shared a photo that appeared to show Harris standing in front of a life-size image of the star just days before her death.
It seems to have been his way of acknowledging her time was near.
“I Love You Sis,” T.I. wrote, adding a red heart emoji. “We can’t thank you enough. #MyBiggestFan.”
The Harris family chose to halt production last week for season 2 of “Friends & Family Hustle” after learning of the 66-year-old's car crash.
T.I. was reportedly waiting for his sister to pull through to continue filming.
T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle, meanwhile, was a legacy show for VH1, airing for six seasons and becoming the first VH1 series to hit the 100-episode milestone.
The program concluded after Tameka Harris filed for divorce.
She and T.I. later reconciled, and the new stage in their relationship is at the heart of the current show.
T.I. has now posted the following on social media...
We ALL Love You, Miss you, & Appreciate you for your love,service,& lifetime dedication to US!!! And while We’re ALL Happy to see you get your well deserved wings of eternal peace... free from pain, worries, & anguish...
But Still WE ALL REALLY HATE TO SEE YOU GO!!!
Don’t even trip about US tho sis... you spent your entire life making sure WE was straight... Now we owe you to NOT be selfishly consumed by our pain,but to be HAPPY for you claim your peaceful place in paradise.
You earned it sis. We’ll be miserable for a while for missing your physical presence, but your lessons of love,words of wisdom & historical memories WILL NEVER DIE!!! Tell Pops me and Bryce said Whattup.
Y’all save us a spot... until then... farewell Big Sis.
May Precious Harris rest in peace.
Brody Stevens, a stand-up comedian and actor best known to many for his role in The Hangover, was found dead on Friday of an apparent suicide.
He was 48 years old.
Reads a statement from Brody's rep, released shortly after this sad piece of news was made public:
“Brody was an inspiring voice who was a friend to many in the comedy community. He pushed creative boundaries and his passion for his work and his love of baseball were contagious.
"He was beloved by many and will be greatly missed.
"We respectfully ask for privacy at this time.”
Stevens reportedly took his own life via hanging.
Over the years, Stevens had been very candid regarding his struggles with depression and anxiety.
On his Comedy Central show, Brody Stevens: Enjoy It, the writer and his friends often talked about his mental state and the challenges he overcame both prior to making it big and even as he grew more and more famous.
In one clip, Zach Galifianakis said the following:
"Brody was really in a dark place... I think he thought that was how his life was going to be and I think that got him depressed."
According to The Blast sources, Los Angeles Police Department officers were dispatched to the Brody's home around 1 p.m. on Friday.
This website has obtained audio from the emergency dispatchers, where officials described the scene as a “hanging."
That said, no official cause of death has been announced just yet.
Stevens appeared as Officer Foltz in the 2009 comedy The Hangover. He was also in The Hangover Part II as Kingsley Guy, which was his last feature-length film role.
The star had also stopped by talk shows such as Jimmy Kimmel Live! and The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn, while serving as regular panelist on Chelsea Lately.
In 2015, he appeared in the short films Near Fall and Alone Together.
Following Brody's reported suicide, those who knew him well took to social media in order to express their shock and sorrow.
The official account for The Comedy Store: Thank you Brody for sharing your Comedy and positive energy with us for so many years. You made late nights so much fun, pushing boundaries, being different, and never doing the same show twice. Joke writing, crowd work, drums, baseball. We love you forever Brody.
Patton Oswalt: If you are depressed or feeling suicidal please please please please please reach out to ANYONE. I never get to see Brody Stevens again I can’t stand this.
Bob Saget: Brody Stevens ~ Such a funny man. Such a good man. We need you and your comedy. My heart goes out to his family and friends. Loved Brody. Rest In Peace kind soul.
Whitney Cummings: I love you so much Brody Stevens. Nobody has been nicer in comedy than you. My heart is shattered.
Nick Kroll: #RIPBrodyStevens he was so funny and weird and vulnerable and wild and kind. Every time he was onstage it was an adventure. Here’s some comics talking about what made him so special.
Kathy Griffin: Thank you for sharing this story. Brody Stevens doing what he did so well. RIP.
If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
May Brody Stevens rest in peace.
R&B legend and music icon James Ingram has passed away.
The news broke about the "Somewhere Out There" singer's passing on Tuesday afternoon after a friend shared the difficult news.
Ingram was 66 years old, and was just over two weeks shy of turning 67.
"I have lost my dearest friend and creative partner James Ingram to the Celestial Choir," longtime friend Debbie Allen tweeted on Tuesday afternoon.
"He will always be cherished, loved, and remembered," she affirmed.
Her tweet continued: "for his genius, his love of family, and his humanity."
"I am blessed to have been so close," she acknowledged.
Her heartfelt tweet concluded: "We will forever speak his name."
James Imgram is, as we mentioned, an R&B legend who has been a titan within the industry for decades.
His best known album work was also his first Number 1 pop hit.
The song, "Baby, Come to Me," was a duet with Patti Austin.
That was not his last time to top the music charts.
In 1990, he once again soared to the top with "I Don't Have the Heart."
But if you really want to talk about his biggest impact, you need to talka bout his soundtrack work.
In 1986, Ingram did a notable duet with Linda Ronstadt for the animated film, An Amiercan Tail.
That song? "Somewhere Out There." One of the most famous songs of all time.
The song reached Number 2 on the pop chart.
It also won the Grammy award for Song of the Year -- though the award went to songwriters James Horner and Cynthia Weil.
Everyone on the planet has heard Ingram's voice.
From 1982 to 1996, Ingram was nominated for 14 different Grammy awards.
Yes, that's an average of about one per year.
He won for male vocal R&B performance for "One Hundred Ways."
He also won for R&B performance by a duo or group after a collaboration with Michael McDonald: "Yah Mo B There.":
Ingram was also nominated for Oscars, both for best original song, in 1994 and 1995 for his theme songs from Beethoven's 2nd and Junior.
His Oscar nominations for best original song came in 1994-95 for his theme songs from “Beethoven’s 2nd” and “Junior.”
James Ingram is originally a native of Akron.
He was a session keyboard player and singer in Los Angeles before his "big break."
His guest singing on the "The Dude" album was so popular that he received a Grammy nomination before ever putting out an album of his own.
Ingram was also a member of the 1970s group, Revelation Funk.
Notably, the group made a brief appearance in the 1975 cult film, "Dolemite."
Details about Ingram's cause of death have not yet been released.
It is believed that he has been ill for some time. He has not been active, musically, for about a decade.
Kevin Barnett, a highly successful stand-up comedian who recently helped create the sitcom Rel, was found dead during a vacation last week in Mexico.
He was 32 years old.
The cause of Barnett's death remains unknown at this time, but the tragic piece of news was confirmed via a Tweet from the official account of the Last Podcast Network, on which Barnett co-hosted the weekly series Roundtable of Gentlemen.
"Dear Last Podcast family," opens this sad message, which expounds with the awful details as follows:
It’s with a heavy heart we inform you of the passing of Kevin Barnett. The joy he brought to our lives is the greatest gift we have ever received.
Remind your friends you love them because you never know when you’ll see them again. We love you KB.
We'll share more details about what happened as they come in.
Over the weekend, however, Barnett shared his last-ever social media post: a photo of himself on a sidewalk in Mexico, along with a caption that read:
“In mexico. Bought myself a sweater. Been accused of appropriation several times. In my head I just gave a lady some money so I ain’t cold. Either way. Swag heavy. Mixtape comin."
Barnett wrote and contributed to a multitute of television shows and films, including Broad City, The Carmichael Show and The Heartbreak Kid.
The sitcom Rel, which he co-created, premiered just a few months ago in September; it stars Get Out actor and comedian Lil Rel Howery and Sinbad.
Barnett also had a few movies in the works as well, including one called The Wrong Missy with David Spade.
“Our hearts are broken, as are those of everyone at Rel, at the news of Kevin Barnett’s passing. He was an incredibly funny, wildly talented man who had so much more to do and so many more stories to tell,” a rep for Twentieth Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment said in a statement.
“We send our thoughts and prayers to his friends and family during this difficult time.”
Comedy Central also paid tribute to Barnett after the awful news broke, writing:
"Kevin Barnett was an incredible comedian and writer, contributing to Broad City, the stand-up community and beyond. He'll be greatly missed."
Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s Chelsea Peretti, meanwhile, Tweeted, “i am so sad."
And Crashing‘s Jamie A. Lee added on Instagram: “A shocking, horrible loss. Kevin Barnett was a brilliant comedian and a great guy. RIP @fatboybarnett. This is so awful."
“I’m at a loss for words hearing about Kevin Barnett… We went to college together and both moved out to LA to pursue the dream,” actor and comedian King Bach wrote on Twitter, concluding:
“Rest in paradise brother.”
Then there was The Simpsons and Parks and Recreation producer Mike Scully, who worked on The Carmichael Show and said of Barnett:
"Kevin Barnett was a great standup, but I knew him as a smart, funny, talented TV writer and just a really sweet guy who made the insanity of the late nights more fun.
"Condolences to his family and friends. Can't believe I'm writing this."
This is what Pete Davidson wrote of the tragedy:
"The world lost a great one today. One of our comedy family members Kevin Barnett has tragically passed. I love Kevin. I've known him for nearly 10 years and he's always been the sweetest and funniest.
"Always had a smile on his face. Was one of the few that treated me like a comic even when I was just 16 years old. He always made me feel part of the group."
May Kevin Barnett rest in peace.
Jo Andres, the director of the 1996 festival circuit hit Black Kites and wife of over 31 years to actor Steve Buscemi, has died from causes unknown.
She was 65 years old.
The award-winning actor - known for his roles on Boardwalk Empire, The Sopranos, Fargo and The Big Lebowski - married Andres in 1987.
They welcomed one child together, a son named Lucian, in 1990.
No date of death has been disclosed, but a memorial service reportedly was held last Tuesday at the couple’s home in Brooklyn.
The sad news has only just gone public now.
Andres, who posed on the red carpet with Buscemi seven months ago, rose to prominence within the 1980s art world through what is described on her website as "film/dance/light performances."
She made her directorial debut with the aforementioned Black Kites.
Black Kites is a 26-minute short film based on the 1992 journals and drawing of Sarajevan visual artist Alma Hajric.
It was was written and directed by Andres and it starred Mimi Goese and Buscemi.
Lucian Buscemi, the then-six-year-old son of the actor and Andres, also appeared in the movie.
According to Andres’ website, she worked at various times as an artist in residence at numerous universities, museums and art colonies; including Yaddo and The Rockefeller Study Center in Bellagio, Italy.
Andres’ other big screen resume includes the 2012 short Liquid Tara, along with videos of her performance pieces.
She directed the 2013 music video When The Curtain Comes Down for Diana Krall, which featured Buscemi and which was played during the singer-pianist’s international tour.
In a 2009 Q&A with The Independent, Buscemi said his favorite work of art is "something by my wife Jo Andres. She paints, she makes films, she has done performance."
“Condolences to Steve Buscemi and loved ones on his loss,” tweeted actor James Woods on Saturday, adding:
“This fine family was so supportive of first responders during 9/11 tragedy."
Our thoughts go out to Andres' friends, family members and loved ones at this time.
May she rest in peace.
Below is a tribute to celebrities we have lost in the year 2018.
These entertainers are gone, but will never be forgotten by their fans.
May they rest in eternal peace.
1. Anthony Bourdain
2. Aretha Franklin
3. John McCain
4. Kate Spade
5. Mark Salling
6. Jerry Van Dyke
William "Willbilly" Hathaway, a cast member on the National Geographic Channel reality show Wicked Tuna, died on Saturday due to injuries he sustained in a car accident.
He was 36 years old.
According to local news outlets, Hathaway was involved in a crash in Salisbury, Maryland after he swerved off a remote countryside road into a ditch.
WBOC16 says that Maryland State Police received a 911 call from a concerned citizen who drove past a Toyota truck on Old Ocean City Road; the station then received numerous similar calls shortly afterwards.
The incident took place around 4 p.m. local time.
Hathaway, meanwhile, supposedly called his wife after the accident occurred and said he was alright.
However, paramedics quickly arrived at the scene and found the reality star "slumped over the center console," not breathing.
The aforementioned news outlet claims he was taken to Peninsula Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
Hathaway was allegedly forced off the road and into the ditch when another vehicle cut him off.
His airbags reportedly never deployed.
In response to this tragedy, friends and loved ones have started a Facebook fundraiser to raise money for Hathaway's wife and their newborn daughter, Molly.
"He was an exceptional human being whose passion was the sea. He always brightened the day of anyone he met. His wife and new born baby girl he was most proud of,” a spokesperson for the Ocean CityFishing Community wrote on the page, adding:
“Due to his untimely death we are asking for donations to help them stay on their feet while trying to survive this tragedy."
As of this writing, more than $56,500 of the $250,000 fundraising goal had been reached.
Hathaway was part of the fishing crew on the Ocean City-based Foolish Pleasures vessel, which was featured on "Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks.
The series itself debuted in April of 2012.
As detailed by Wikipedia, it "takes viewers into the unrelenting North Atlantic waters infamously spotlighted by the novel-turned-feature film The Perfect Storm, to follow captains who are relied upon by their families, their shipmates, and by Gloucester itself, to haul in boatloads of the large but elusive bluefin."
Tragically, another Wicked Tuna star lost his life earlier this year.
Nicholas Fudge died in July after a lengthy battle with substance abuse. He was only 28 years old.
We send our condolences to the friends, family members and loved ones of William "Willbilly" Hathaway.
May he rest in peace.
Jael Strauss, the America's Next Top Model contestant who revealed just two months ago that she had breast cancer, died Tuesday morning around 11 a.m.
She was under hospice care at the time.
And she was 34 years old.
Insiders close to Strauss tell TMZ that her condition took a turn for the worse on Monday night, following several days during which Strauss was unconscious.
Her family has been allowing visitors to see Jael, however, up until the final few hours of her life.
It was clear at that point that the Season 8 hopeful did not have much time remaining.
Strauss chose to stop chemotherapy around Halloween and went into hospice on Thanksgiving, writing on Facebook:
"First night in hospice. So many things I never knew about life. Or death. So many things."
It was only a month or so before this transition that Strauss wrote a lengthy and emotional message to fans about her Stage IV breast cancer.
Likely aware at the time that the diagnosis was fatal, she said: "It has aggressively spread throughout my body and is incurable."
"With treatment it may prolong my life longer than the 'few months' doctors said I could make it. I don't want to die."
"I need another one of those miracles that I got back in 2013."
With this statement, Strauss was referring to a past battling the devastating affects of crystal meth addiction.
This was something difficult and personal, and which she addressed publicly in an appearance on Dr. Phil in 2012.
In August, just two months before the breast cancer diagnosis, Strauss celebrated five years of sobriety.
This is what she wrote on Instagram in tribute to herself, her situation and all those who helped her along the way:
I know a few things to be true:
Miracles are real, Recovery is possible for everyone no matter how far gone you think you are, We are never too broken to be put back together.
Service work feels better than the greatest high.
Sobriety makes you weirder not normal and I'd be dead if it weren't for all the love and forgiveness I've been showered with by my friends and family.
A GoFundMe was opened for Strauss about a month ago that has thus far raised more than $18,000 to fund her treatment.
SAid Jael's family and friends to TMZ in a statement:
"The one blessing was that we were able to show her how loved she was before she passed. She brought so much light to people."
As mentioned above, Strauss competed on the eighth season of America’s Next Top Model in 2007 and finished sixth in the competition.
May Jael Strauss rest in peace.
Sad news today as the world loses an icon. Marvel Comics Empresario Stanley Martin Lieber, better known as Stan Lee, has shuffled off this mortal coil at the age of 95. Unlike the rest of the world, I haven’t been sitting on a pre-written obituary for the last five years, so instead, let’s just take a look at Stan The Man’s best cameos from the big screen adaptations of some of his finest creations…
I don’t think he ever had a better cameo than the one in Mallrats, but here’s a quick Top 5 of my favorite Stan The Man cameos…
5. Captain America: Civil War
It doesn’t get much funnier than “Tony Stank,” except that it totally does…
4. Spider-Man: Homecoming
“How’s your mother” is the most New York thing anyone can say. God bless Stan for nailing it.
I’m a sucker for this running gag with Luis in the Ant-Man movies, and this is one of the most perfect ways to use Stan.
2. Teen Titans GO! to the Movies
I want to give this the number one spot, but I can’t. But I REALLY want to.
1. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
This one ties them all together, and it’s glorious. I don’t think he’s gotten a better cameo than this.
James Karen, a veteran actor with an extensive big screen resume, passed away this week at his home in Florida, according to multuple outlets.
He was 94 years old.
Karen died with over 200 movies to his credit, but he's probably best known for his role as the developer Mr. Teague in the modern horror classic Poltergeist.
The long-time star also appeared in Return of the Living Dead, Invaders from Mars, China Syndrome, and Wall Street -- among MANY other films.
One of the best known character actors of all-time, Karen once joked that nobody knew his name, yet everybody knew his face because he "did so much damn work."
Actually, he may not have been joking about that.
Mostly known for his work in the movie world, Karen also played a key part on the finale of Little House on the Prairie and he worked with director Oliver Stone on three occasions:
1. As Lynch, the office manager at Jackson Steinem, where Charlie Sheen’s stockbroker character works, in Wall Street.
2. As Secretary of State William Rogers in Nixon.
2. As a Miami Sharks executive in Any Given Sunday.
Karen was born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania and served in the United States Air Force during World War II.
Following a stint on Broadway, Karen moved to the land of television when he starred as Dr. Burke on As the World Turns and was the original Lincoln Tyler on All My Children.
Along with starring in thousands of commercials, Karen also worked as the TV and radio spokesman (“Why pay more?”) for Pathmark, an East Coast supermarket chain that was liquidated in 2015.
On the personal front:
Karen was married to the late Susan Reed, the beloved folk singer and zither player, from 1958 until their divorce in 1967.
The couple shared a son named Reed, whose godfather is the legendary Buster Keaton, a very close friend of Karen's throughout his adult life.
In the horror genre, other notable movies in which Karen played a part include:
Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster, Poltergeist, Invaders from Mars, The Willies, The Unborn, Piranha, Apt Pupil and Mulholland Drive.
And other television roles include:
Seinfeld, The Larry Sanders Show, Dallas, The Golden Girls, L.A. Law, Murphy Brown and The Waltons.
In the cult classic The Return of the Living Dead, Karen starred as the manager of a medical warehouse who inadvertently releases a gas that re-animates the dead.
He said it was the most fun he ever had in making a movie, saying in 2006 that he had some say in how the character died:
“It was the deal where he figures out he’s becoming a zombie and decides to incinerate himself in the crematorium.
"He kisses his wedding ring as he goes in. It was a very emotional scene, but it also got me out of being one of the rain-drenched zombies milling around outside the place at the end of the film.
"I didn’t really want to do all that muddy stuff.”
The Hollywood Reporter first confirmed Karen's death.
May he rest in peace.