Patrice O’Neal, the funniest living comic, who was a fixture in the New York comedy scene for two decades, and who was most recently seen in his classic Comedy Central special, Elephant in the Room, has passed away according to sources close to the comedian.
Talk show host Opie of the Opie & Anthony Radio Show tweeted this morning, “Yes, it’s true that our pal Patrice O’Neal has passed away. The funniest and best thinker I’ve ever known PERIOD.”
O’Neal suffered a stroke in October after a long battle with diabetes. The announcement about his condition was made by a group of his comedian friends and peers on the popular Sirius radio show, but few details have been made known since then at the wishes of his family.
O’Neal was best known for his darkly playful sense of humor and for saying exactly what was on his mind. While O’Neal was polarizing voice who was often as disliked as much as he was beloved, he was revered by peers and audiences alike for his fearlessness, a characteristic that was in bold relief during the Sheen Roast.
Diabetes refers to a group of ailments characterized by high levels of blood glucose (hence, the “sugar” nickname). While genetic risks, obesity, and lack of physical activity are largely to blame for the high number of African-Americans who are affected, the hidden or silent indicators are lack of sleep and environmental stress.