Hollywood is mourning the loss of a beloved star.
Comedian Paul Mooney passed away on Wednesday, May 19, at his home Oakland, Calif., his rep confirmed to NBC News. He was 79. “Paramedics tried unsuccessfully to revive him after he suffered a heart attack,” his publicist Cassandra Wiliiams said in a statement. “He was staying with a family member who was a caregiver.”
Mooney’s rep also noted he “had declining health that came with age.” Funeral plans are expected to follow.
During his illustrious career, Mooney served as a writer on The Richard Pryor Show, The Rosanne Show, In Living Color and Saturday Night Live. He also appeared on Dave Chappelle‘s titular show.
As news of his death emerged, many stars and public figures took to social media to pay tribute. “Awww…. RIP comedy legend Paul Mooney!” Viola Davis tweeted. “You were both funny and poignant. So happy to have witnessed your genius live. Rest well!!! Pour down some laughter here. We need it.”
Director Ava DuVernay wrote, “Paul Mooney. A comedy giant. I recall listening to his RACE album in college and how formative it was. Yeah, the jokes. But more so, the freedom. He spoke freely and fearlessly about feelings and experiences others found difficult to express. May he be truly free now. Rest, sir.”