The icon died Wednesday at 5:30 a.m. at his home in Oakland, California.
The star – who is best known for his work opposite Gary Busey in The Buddy Holly Story – died after suffering a heart attack at his home in Oakland, California.
‘Comedic legend Paul Mooney has passed away,’ journalist Roland Martin shared on Twitter. ‘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.
He was best known for his work as Negrodamus in Chappelle’s Show. And he also stood out as Sam Cooke in The Buddy Holly Story and as Junebug in Spike Lee’s Bamboozled.
Paul’s work with Chappelle was one of the highlights of his career: He stood out on Comedy Central’s Chappelle’s Show for the sketches Ask a Black Dude and Mooney at the Movies.
His role as Negrodamus, an African American version of Nostradamus, became iconic.
Mooney released his memoir Black Is the New White in 2007.
Paul grew up in Shreveport, Louisiana but moved to Oakland at the age of seven. He was brought up by his grandmother Aimay Ealy.
Paul – whose real name was Paul Gladney – was pronounced dead at 5:30 a.m. PT on Wednesday.
Paul Mooney, Pioneering Comic and Actor, Dies 79 https://t.co/hxAc2nBNY3— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) May 19, 2021
His representative, Cassandra Williams, told The Sun: “It just happened.”
“He was with family in his home. It was very sudden”
The rep claimed paramedics attempted to revive the comedian after they arrived to the scene, but were unsuccessful.
She also insisted he had no known health issues before tragedy struck.