Shameless Actor and Last Comic Standing Alum Ricarlo Flanagan Dies at 41 After Contracting COVID

·3 min read
ricarlo Flanagan
ricarlo Flanagan

courtesy KMR Talent Ricarlo Flanagan

Ricarlo Flanagan — a rapper, actor and comedian whose credits include Shameless, Insecure and Last Comic Standing — has died at the age of 41.

Flanagan died over the weekend after contracting COVID-19 several weeks ago, his agent, Stu Golfman of KMR Talent, tells PEOPLE.

"Ricarlo was truly one of the nicest people on the planet, a wonderful performer and we are heartbroken by the news of his passing," Golfman says in a statement. No further details about his death were given.

In a GoFundMe campaign set up to raise money to "get him home to his family in Cleveland, Ohio," Flanagan is described as a "loving son, grandson, cousin, nephew, and friend with many amazing talents."

"He brought laughter to every room he walked in," the fundraiser's description reads.

Flanagan's first foray into the world of comedy happened in 2007, when he discovered a flyer on a telephone pole in Ann Arbor, Michigan, advertising for comedy classes. After attending one class, Flanagan was hooked and began pursuing a career in stand-up comedy.

In 2015, Flanagan became a semifinalist on the ninth season of Last Comic Standing.

Ricarlo Flanagan
Ricarlo Flanagan

Ben Cohen/NBCU Ricarlo Flanagan on Last Comic Standing

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The comic went on to appear in comedies such as The Mick, The Carmichael Show, Insecure, The Neighborhood, and Kidding. He also held recurring roles on Showtime's Shameless and the Disney XD show Walk the Prank.

Prior to his death, the comic had landed his first film role in the Aubrey Plaza-starring thriller Emily the Criminal.

In addition to his work in TV, Flanagan was a rapper who performed under the name Father Flanagan. He released his debut album, Death of Davinchi, in 2010 and followed the record up with 2019's An Opus Inspired By Andre Martin and 2020's Hope Your Proud.

On Sept. 27, Flanagan shared on his Instagram that a fourth album, titled Both Sides Of The Brain, would be released in the following month.

Three days later, Flanagan tweeted about COVID-19, writing at the time, "This covid is no joke. I don't wish this on anybody."

In the wake of his death, Flanagan's fellow comics have taken to social media to pay their respects.

"Ricarlo Flanagan was one of the kindest people I knew. Knew, in past tense," comedian and YouTuber Steve Hofstetter wrote on Facebook. "Please take this seriously. Please get vaccinated. Please wear a mask. This isn't about 'freedom'. This is about not wanting to lose people."

"This really sucks," stand-up comic Jeff Horste wrote. "One of the most sincere, supportive, and funniest humans I'll ever know. Life isn't fair. Tell your friends you love them."

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the CDC, WHO and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.