Comedian BERNIE MAC has died after losing his battle with pneumonia.
The 50-year-old Ocean’s Eleven star passed away on Saturday (09Aug08)
morning at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, a week after
being admitted to the medical center.
News of the actor’s illness emerged at the start of the month
(01Aug08), but his publicist Danica Smith released a number of statements
earlier this week (begs04Aug08) playing down reports of Mac’s deteriorating
At one point, Smith had to dismiss claims Mac had died, and on Thursday
(07Aug08) she said the actor was “in a stable condition” and was “responding
well to treatment”.
She even predicted he would be released from hospital within weeks.
But the star – who had also been suffering from sarcoidosis, a tissue
inflammation disease, since 1983 – died on Saturday after experiencing
complications from pneumonia, reports TMZ.com.
In a statement issued hours after his passing, his representative said,
“Actor/comedian Bernie Mac passed away this morning from complications due to
pneumonia in a Chicago area hospital. No other details are available at this
time. We ask that his family’s privacy continues to be respected.”
Born Bernard Jeffrey McCullough in Chicago in 1957, the actor began his
showbiz career as a stand-up comedian in the local Cotton Pickin’ Club.
He quickly established himself as a promising wise-cracking star, and he was
crowned the winner of the Miller Lite Comedy Search at the age of 32.
But Mac’s big career break came when he performed on the famous Def Comedy
Jam show on U.S. cable network HBO.
The stint led to Mac landing small acting roles in movies such as Ice Cube’s
1995 street classic Friday and 1997’s Booty Call, before scoring more
high-profile parts in the George Clooney remake of Ocean’s Eleven, and its
sequels Oceans Twelve and Ocean’s Thirteen. His other movie appearances include
Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle and Bad Santa in 2003, Guess Who? in 2005 and
last year’s (07) Transformers.
Despite his Hollywood career, he remained an important figure on the
stand-up circuit, and toured the U.S. as part of The Kings of Comedy show with
Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer and D.L. Hughley.
He was also a popular figure on the small screen, and in 2001, scored his
own sitcom, The Bernie Mac Show, which earned him Emmy Award nominations in
2002 and 2003 for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. The show ran until
Mac is survived by his wife of more than 30 years, Rhonda McCullough and
their grown-up daughter Je’Niece.