Comedian Charlie Murphy, the brother of actor Eddie Murphy, has died, aged 57.
Famous in his own right for the Chapelle Show, the stand-up comedian, actor and writer died today in New York City from leukemia.
Tributes have begun flooding in on Twitter.
“We just lost one of the funniest most real brothers of all time. Charlie Murphy RIP,” former co-star Chris Rock tweeted.
After making his big screen debut in 1989’s Harlem Nights, directed by his younger brother Eddie, and appearing in bit roles in Spike Lee films like Mo’ Better Blues and Jungle Fever, Murphy’s big break came as a cast member on Chappelle’s Show, where “Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories” resulted in a pair of memorable sketches.
Both sketches featured Murphy reminiscing about he and his brother’s celebrity encounters in the 1980s with Dave Chappelle portraying Rick James and Prince in the now-legendary sketches.
Born in Brooklyn, he served six years in the US navy after being released from prison as a young man.
According to TMZ, his family were shocked at his unexpected death as they believed he was getting better.
He leaves behind three children – two from his marriage to Tisha Taylor Murphy, who died in 2009 from cervical cancer, and another from a previous relationship.
His friend Russell Simmons paid tribute to him, calling him his “biggest comedy idol”.
The penultimate tweet sent from Charlie’s account was a poignant quote by Abraham Lincoln.
“Rise & Grind: Wake up with the rising sun and seize the day!” it said.
Rise & Grind: Wake up with the rising sun and seize the day!
— Charlie Murphy (@charliemurphy) April 10, 2017
The message was posted just four hours before his death was announced, followed by a final message which said: “One to sleep on: Release the past to rest as deeply as possible.”
One to Sleep On: Release the past to rest as deeply as possible.
— Charlie Murphy (@charliemurphy) April 12, 2017