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Charlie Murphy, the older brother of Eddie Murphy and beloved comedian whose iconic bits on “Chappelle’s Show” sealed his own celebrity status, died Wednesday after a battle with leukemia.
Charlie Murphy, the older brother of Eddie Murphy and a comic performer in his own right who turned encounters with Rick James and Prince into standout sketches on “Chappelle’s Show,” has died. He was 57.
The Brooklyn-bred funnyman passed away on Wednesday in New York after undergoing chemotherapy of leukemia at a New York hospital, according to TMZ.com.
In a final Twitter post Tuesday night, Charlie Murphy wrote, “One to Sleep On: Release the past to rest as deeply as possible.”
The untimely death stunned loved ones who thought Murphy was gaining strength ahead of a “Comedy Get Down” gig in Detroit next month.
“He was doing well, but he contracted pneumonia and that’s what took him out. His body wasn’t strong enough to fight the infection. It was very sudden,” cousin Richard Murphy, 43, told the Daily News at the elder Murphy’s home in Englewood, N.J.
“He was definitely looking forward to doing bigger, better things but unfortunately he was called home,” Richard said.
“Our hearts are heavy with the loss today of our son, brother, father, uncle and friend Charlie,” a family statement issued by Eddie Murphy’s publicist read.
“Charlie filled our family with love and laughter and there won’t be a day that goes by that his presence will not be missed,” the statement read.
Murphy’s upcoming show was part of his ongoing tour with fellow comedians Cedric the Entertainer, Eddie Griffin, D.L. Hughley and George Lopez.
“It’s grieving time,” Griffin told The News in an emotional phone interview.
“Charlie Murphy was the greatest storyteller I ever had the privilege of hanging around. He would tell a story and not miss an inflection or a single detail. But all that aside, the number one thing about him was that he was a great family man, a great father. That was his main concern,” Griffin said.
“We’ve been on tour together for about three years now. When we first started, we were both single fathers. We’d have a lot of conversations about that,” he said.
Murphy earned a tremendous fan base as a writer for “Chappelle’s Show,” on which he frequently appeared alongside star Dave Chappelle.