CHICAGO _ Actor and comedian Bernie Mac died Saturday morning due to complications from pneumonia in a Chicago hospital, according to several news organizations. He was 50.
The Associated Press reports that Mac suffered from sarcoidosis, an inflammatory lung disease that produces tiny lumps of cells in the body’s organs. He had said the condition went into remission in 2005. He recently was hospitalized and treated for pneumonia, which his publicist said was not related to the disease.
Mac is a Chicago native who lived in the southern suburbs. He made waves last month with off-color jokes during a Chicago fundraiser for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.
According to the AP, Mac was one of “The Original Kings of Comedy” in the 2000 documentary of that title that brought a new generation of black standup comedy stars to a wider audience.
“The majority of his core fan base will remember that when they paid their money to see Bernie Mac … he gave them their money’s worth,” Steve Harvey, one of his co-stars in “Original Kings,” told CNN on Saturday.
Mac also had starring roles in “Bad Santa,” “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle” and “Transformers.”
The comedian drew critical and popular acclaim with his Fox television series “The Bernie Mac Show,” which aired more than 100 episodes from 2001 to 2006.
Mac went on to star in the hugely popular “Ocean’s Eleven” franchise with Brad Pitt and George Clooney.
Clooney was among several Hollywood celebrities who mourned the loss on Saturday.
“The world just got a little less funny,’’ Clooney told E! Online. “He will be dearly missed.”
Chris Rock agreed in his interview with the online magazine.
“Bernie Mac was one of the best and funniest comedians to ever live but that was the second best thing he did,’’ Rock told E! Online. “Bernie was one of the greatest friends a person could have. Losing him is like losing 12 people because he absolutely filled up any room he was in. I’m gonna miss the Mac Man.’’
Actor Don Cheadle also weighed in.
“This is a very sad day for many of us who knew and loved Bernie,’’ Cheadle told E! Online. “He brought so much joy to so many. He will be missed but heaven just got funnier.”
Photo: Bernie Mac