Comedian Charlie Murphy, who was known for his toast making style of joke telling, died of Leukemia at a New York hospital on Wednesday, TMZ reported. His publicist Domenick Nati also confirmed the passing to The Hollywood Reporter. He was 57.
The older brother of Eddie Murphy, he had been undergoing chemotherapy treatments, the website quoted his manager as saying.
Murphy was probably best known for his role on Comedy Central’s “Chappelle’s Show” alongside fellow comedian Dave Chappelle. He was made particularly famous for his “True Hollywood Stories” segments, one of which he told the story of the time he, his brother and their entourage encountered the late musical legend Prince, who bested them in a game of pickup basketball.
In another, he told of the night the group encountered another musical icon, Rick James (who actually appeared in the skit) and described a wild and sometimes violent night of drug fueled partying. Chappelle hilariously portrayed both artists against Murphy’s straight-laced you-had-to-see-it-to-believe-it recollection.
Murphy appeared alongside his brother in several film roles dating back to 1989’s “Harlem Nights,” but also created a film career of his own with roles in Spike Lee’s “Mo Better Blues,” Ice Cube’s “The Player’s Club,” and other television shows including “The Boondocks,” “Black Dynamite,” and “Black Jesus.”
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Murphy served in the U.S. Navy from 1978 to 1983 but upon being discharged, he chose to join his brother in show business as his fame had begun to rise after his time on “Saturday Night Live” in the early 80s. After appearing with his brother and comedy legends Richard Pryor and Redd Foxx in “Harlem Nights,” his own star began to rise until he was invited to do parts with Chappelle in 2003. “They called me up and I wasn’t doing anything. I came down and I just did my thing,” he told PR.com in 2007. “I let loose and when it was over with they said, ‘We want you on the next show.’ ”
He lost his wife Tisha Taylor Murphy to cervical cancer in 2009. The couple had two children together, and Murphy also had a child from another relationship.
Comedian Chris Rock was among the first to show condolences on social media over Murphy’s passing.
We just lost one of the funniest most real brothers of all time . Charlie Murphy RIP. pic.twitter.com/AAwItp5AJC
— Chris Rock (@chrisrock) April 12, 2017
Wow….This is crazy. All I can say is RIP. Thank you for not only being a friend but for… https://t.co/wNLVLYdEi5
— Kevin Hart (@KevinHart4real) April 12, 2017
Others who knew him well followed suit…
Damn, sorry to hear about my friend Charlie Murphy. He took a chance on a young director in The Player’s Club. Always made me laugh. RIP pic.twitter.com/yChjFtSDH4
— Ice Cube (@icecube) April 12, 2017
Sad to hear about the passing of Charlie Murphy. He was one funny, kind man. Sending love and light to his family and friends.
— Russell Simmons (@UncleRUSH) April 12, 2017