Whitney Pastorek and Michael Sauter
April 11, 2005 AT 04:00 AM EDT

With his staccato stoner delivery and surreal musings on everyday objects from fish sticks to crazy straws, comedian Mitch Hedberg, who was found dead in a New Jersey hotel room on March 30 at age 37, reportedly of heart failure, was an inspired mix of Jerry Seinfeld, Steven Wright, and Jeff Spicoli. The St. Paul-born Hedberg had struggled with drug and alcohol abuse while amassing a dedicated following who repeated his pithy, head-trippy one-liners — ”I love an escalator because it can never break. It can only become stairs” — like they were rock lyrics. And he performed like a rock star, bangs hanging over his shades, face cast down on his mike: Perhaps this was a lasting side effect of his early stage fright — or a sign of unwavering focus on his craft. ”He will be sorely missed by his many fans, of which I am proud to say I am one,” says Dave Attell. ”F—, yes, stand-up for life,” Hedberg once said. Sadly, his ended too soon.

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