Popular American comedian Ralphie May has died at the age of 45.
The Tennessee-born star was tragically found dead at his private residence in Las Vegas on Friday (October 6) following a period of ill health, his spokesperson told E! News.
A spokesperson on behalf of Ralphie May's family said: "Ralphie had been battling pneumonia and had cancelled a handful of dates over the last month in an effort to recovery.
"Earlier this morning at a private residence in Las Vegas his body was discovered, cause of death is cardiac arrest."
Ralphie broke through to the mainstream while competing on the stand-up comedy reality series Last Comic Standing against more established contemporaries like Dave Mordal and Rich Vos.
Although he finished runner-up to winner Dat Phan, Ralphie parlayed the exposure from the NBC reality competition into becoming a national comedy headliner.
He would later star in two Netflix stand-up comedy specials, and acted in Inside Amy Schumer, Squidbillies and Whoopi Goldberg's short-lived US sitcom.
Prior to his death, Ralphie was in the middle of his 'Unruly' stand-up comedy tour and had performed only hours earlier at the historic Harrah's casino in Las Vegas.
Ralphie May is survived by his wife Lahna Turner as well as their young children, April June and August James. Below, famous friends pay tribute to the late comedian:
This hurts too much. @Ralphie_May helped me so much. Rest In Peace. Thank you for all the love you have given me. Thank you for everything.- Ken Jeong (@kenjeong) October 6, 2017
.@Ralphie_May was genuinely the nicest most encouraging person you could meet. Always unconditional love from him.- Ken Jeong (@kenjeong) October 6, 2017
Thank you, Ralphie May. You were a world-class comedian. pic.twitter.com/TGWpRcyQGH- Comedy Central (@ComedyCentral) October 6, 2017
I met @Ralphie_May once backstage and he was funny, kind and an instant friend. RIP- Jeff B. Davis (@JeffBryanDavis) October 6, 2017
Man...we lost one of the greatest today. I proud to have called this man one of my best friends & mentors. May you Rest In Peace Ralphie May- Matt Rife (@ItsMattRife) October 6, 2017
RiP Ralphie May. Great guy. Supportive, warm hearted & real. Everything you hear about him today is true. Loved by the comedians. Very sad.- Steven BRODY Stevens (@BrodyismeFriend) October 6, 2017
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