The comedy community is mourning the loss of a legend.
The comedian Gallagher has passed away after a short illness, his representatives confirmed in a statement to E! News. He was 76 years old.
Adding that he was surrounded by his family when he passed at his Palm Springs, Calif., home, the statement noted that Gallagher faced various health issues over the years, including several heart attacks.
He is survived by his son, Barnaby and daughter, Aimee.
Born Leo Gallager, he shot to fame with his 1980 comedy special An Uncensored Evening. However, he was best known for his Sledge-O-Matic bit, during which he'd hit a piece of food or fruit with a sledgehammer sending juice and fragments flying into the audience. Gallagher's show was the first stand-up comedy special to air on cable TV.
Reflecting on the comedian's storied career, which included several specials at HBO and Showtime, the statement continued, "Gallagher was the No. 1 comedian in America for 15 years," the statement said, "with some of that due to the popularity of his stand-up specials airing on MTV in its early days, bringing him an entirely new audience."
In fact, he continued touring up until the COVID-19 pandemic. "He was pretty sure he held a record for the most stand-up dates," the statement added, "by attrition alone."
Stating that Gallagher was the first comedian to involve the audience in his performances through his Sledge-O-Matic routine, the statement remembered him as "an undeniable talent and an American success story."
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