Charlie Murphy, the beloved comedian, writer and older brother of Eddie Murphy, has died after a battle with leukemia. He was 57.
The funnyman passed away Wednesday morning at a New York City hospital, TMZ reported, citing his manager. He had been undergoing chemotherapy treatment. Murphy earned a tremendous fan base as a writer for “Chappelle’s Show,” on which he frequently appeared in sketches alongside star Dave Chappelle. He had a recurring segment on the Comedy Central series called “Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories,” which featured him comically recalling his unfortunate interactions with major 1980s stars such as Prince and Rick James when he was a member of his brother’s crew.
The Prince sketch was particularly memorable and detailed a pick-up basketball game where the pop icon (played by Chappelle) and his team beat Murphy’s.
Prince later revealed the game did in fact take place, telling MTV that “the whupping is true.” Murphy, who was Eddie’s only sibling, teamed up with the “Saturday Night Live” alum as a writer for several of his movies, including “Norbit.” He also appeared in front of the camera for many movie and TV roles outside of his work with Chappelle, including recurring gigs on “Are We There Yet?” and “The Boondocks,” and had a lengthy touring career as a stand-up comic as well.
Murphy’s wife, Tisha Taylor Murphy, died in 2009 after a lengthy battle with cancer. The couple married in 1997 and had two kids together: daughter Ava and son Xavier. Murphy also had another child from a previous relationship.
Murphy’s death rocked the entertainment world and led to an outpour of condolences from many of the comedian’s friends and admirers. “We just lost one of the funniest most real brothers of all time,” Chris Rock tweeted. “Charlie Murphy RIP.” Russell Simmons shared a similar sentiment. “Just came out of meditation and learned that one of my friends and my biggest comedy idol passed,” he wrote. “Damn I loved Charlie Murphy.”