Comedian Paul Mooney dies aged 79 after suffering a heart attack

Trailblazing comedian Paul Mooney has died aged 79 (Picture: Johnny Nunez/WireImage)

Comedian and actor Paul Mooney has died aged 79 after suffering a heart attack at his home.

The star died at his home in Oakland, California, his cousin confirmed, as tributes pour in from devastated fans and colleagues.

Journalist Roland Martin broke the news on Twitter as he wrote: ‘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.

‘We will pay tribute to him tonight on #RolandMartinUnfiltered.’

The trailblazing comedian famously worked with Gary Busey when he played Sam Cooke in The Buddy Holly Story.

Mooney- whose real name was Paul Gladney – was best known for his work as Negrodamus in Chappelle’s Show.

The star was famous for his work alongside the likes of Richard Pyror, Dave Chappelle and many more (Picture: Johnny Nunez/WireImage)

He also stood out as Junebug in Spike Lee’s Bamboozled, however his first big job was as a writer for comedian Richard Pryor of Harlem Nights fame.

Mooney crafted jokes for Richard on Saturday Night Live before he became a writer on Live on the Sunset Strip and Is It Something I Said albums.

The star is also credited with giving many other comedians, including Robin Williams their first break into show business.

Speaking about his comedy to Canada’s The Globe and Mail, Mooney said in 2014: ‘I’ve been doing this a very long time. If I have to describe my brand of comedy, we’ve got a problem here in Canada.’

Mooney is also credited with giving many other comedians their first break into show business (Picture: Dave Allocca/Starpix/Shutterstock)

In the 90s he worked as the head writer for Fox’s In Living Color and was the inspiration for the beloved character Homey D Clown, played by Damon Wayans.

As an actor, Mooney made appearances in Which Way Is Up?, Bustin’ Loose and Hollywood Shuffle.

The beloved comic released his memoir Black Is the New White in 2007.

Comic W Kamau Bell paid tribute as he recalled: ‘I was lucky enough to open for Paul Mooney several times.

‘It was a master class. It was like a Malcolm X speech that had been punched up by Redd Foxx. & then in the middle of everything he’d go off on a tangent about Jane Fonda. He was 1 of the greats. Rest in Peace, Mr. Mooney.’

D.L. Hughley commented: ‘There a places Chef’s go to eat after THEY finish cooking! That’s how I felt when I went to a late #PaulMooney show after I finished giggin! Rest Well Lion! #TeamDl’.

Director Ava DuVernay tweeted: ‘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.

One fan wrote: ‘This man was an icon and legend. Rest in Power Paul Mooney!’ while another added: ‘RIP Paul Mooney. One of the most historic comedians of all time. The incomparable truth teller. A resume like no other.’

‘Rest In Peace to the OG Paul Mooney,’ another added.

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