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Comedian Paul Mooney dead at 79

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Paul Mooney attends a photo shoot at the Apollo Theater January 5, 2008 in New York City.
Paul Mooney attends a photo shoot at the Apollo Theater January 5, 2008 in New York City. Johnny Nunez/WireImage via Getty Images
  • Comedian Paul Mooney has died, aged 79, his publicist told Insider.

  • The publicist added that Mooney died after experiencing a heart attack on Wednesday morning.

  • Mooney worked as both an actor and a writer in his career.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Comedian Paul Mooney died on Wednesday morning after experiencing a heart attack at his home in Oakland, California, his publicist confirmed to Insider.

News of the comedian's death was first reported by journalist Roland Martin.

In a tweet, Martin wrote in part: "Comedic legend Paul Mooney has passed away. His cousin, Rudy Ealy, just called me from Paul's phone and said he passed away two hours ago after suffering a heart attack at his home in Oakland. He was 79."

Mooney's Twitter account also shared a message on Wednesday morning following the news.

"Thank you all from the bottom of all of our hearts ...you're all are the best," the tweet reads. "Mooney World .. The Godfather of Comedy - ONE MOON MANY STARS! .. To all in love with this great man.. many thanks."

Mooney, whose birth name is Paul Gladney, worked as both an actor and a writer in his career, which spanned seven decades. He was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, in 1941 and moved to Oakland, California, several years later.

He was the head writer on "The Richard Pryor Show" in 1977 and cowrote several of Richard Pryor's comedy albums and "Saturday Night Live" jokes. Mooney also served as a writer on the 1970s sitcom "Sanford and Son," 1990s sketch comedy series "In Living Color," and "Chappelle's Show," which premiered in 2003 before going off the air three years late, where he played a recurring character called Negrodamus.

As an actor, he's known for playing Sam Cooke in the 1978 Academy Award-winning film, "The Buddy Holly Story." Mooney also portrayed Junebug in Spike Lee's 2000 satirical-comedy, "Bamboozled," and was most recently cast in the 2016 film "Meet the Blacks."

In 2009, Simon & Schuster published Mooney's memoir, titled "Black Is the New White." The book featured a foreword written by comedian Dave Chappelle.

Mooney is survived by his four children: Dwayne Mooney, Shane Mooney, Daryl Mooney, and Symeon Mooney.

Many celebrities took to social media to remember the famed comedian, including Oscar winner Viola Davis, Ava DuVernay, Maxwell and comedian W. Kamau Bell.

Read the original article on Insider

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