Lil Rel Howery, Jeffrey Wright, D.L. Hughley, and more paid tribute to the late comedian.

By Joey Nolfi
May 19, 2021 at 11:42 AM EDT
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Legendary comedian Paul Mooney has died at age 79.

EW has confirmed through Mooney's manager that the performer suffered a heart attack at his home in Oakland, Calif., and passed away shortly after.

Paul Mooney
Paul Mooney at the 2004 BET Comedy Awards.
| Credit: M. Caulfield/WireImage

Journalist Roland Martin first reported the news Wednesday, tweeting that he received a call from Mooney's cousin, Rudy Ealy, who reportedly told him that paramedics attempted to resuscitate Mooney — whom he said had been diagnosed with dementia — following the heart attack, though he ultimately died around 5:00 a.m. local time.

Mooney's Twitter account also shared a message in remembrance of the star and thanking his fans for their support.

"[You] all are the best," the tweet reads. "The Godfather of Comedy - ONE MOON MANY STARS! To all in love with this great man.. many thanks."

In addition to his work writing for Richard Pryor, Mooney rose to prominence for his singular takes on life and culture in his acts, as well as performances as Sam Cooke in the 1978 film The Buddy Holly Story, on Chappelle's Show and In Living Color, and for his work on Spike Lee's 2000 movie Bamboozled, which follows a Black TV writer who combats his frustrations with the industry by pitching a show incorporating blackface.

Following Mooney's death, celebrities paid tribute to the comedian on social media, including actor Jeffrey Wright, Lil Rel Howery, Ashley Nicole Black, and The Kid Mero, who called Mooney a "comedy God."

"I remember, as a little kid, my dad showing me Paul Mooney's stand-up for the first time and I was just blown away," Black tweeted. "My dad said, 'Now THIS is comedy.' and he was right."

See more celebrity tributes to Mooney below.

Hear more on all of today's must-see picks, plus what Saint Maud and The Lord of the Rings star Morfydd Clark is watching, in EW's What to Watch podcast, hosted by Gerrad Hall.

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