Comedian Gallagher has passed away at the age of 76. The prop comedian, who was famous for smashing watermelons with a sledgehammer, died at his home in Palm Springs, California, on Friday, November 11, in the presence of his family.
Gallagher’s manager has confirmed his death, revealing that the comedian succumbed to multiple organ failure. He had been battling ailments for a long time and also suffered several heart attacks in the past. Gallagher featured on a number of HBO and Showtime comic specials in his career.
Gallagher Passes Away at 76
Gallagher’s rep confirmed his death with a statement: “The legendary comedian known as Gallagher has died at the age of 76. After a short health battle, Gallagher, born Leo Gallagher, succumbed to his ailments and passed away surrounded by his family in Palm Springs, California.”
“He had previously suffered numerous heart attacks, something he and David Letterman talked about on an appearance a few years back. Gallagher stayed on the road touring America for decades.”
“He was pretty sure he held a record for the most stand-up dates, by attrition alone. While Gallagher had his detractors, he was an undeniable talent and an American success story,” he added.
The comedian, whose full name was Leo Anthony Gallagher Jr., had faced multiple health scares in the last few years. In 2011, he was performing an act in Minnesota when he suddenly collapsed. The following year, he had a heart attack just a few minutes before he was set to perform in Texas.
Fans Remember their Favorite Comedian
As soon as the news of Gallagher’s demise broke, fans started paying tributes to him and thanked the late comedian for bringing a smile to their faces with his antics. “Early #Gallagher made think and made me laugh. Part professor and part caveman, there was no one like him at the time. #RIPgallagher,” wrote a fan.
Another one tweeted, “This is absolutely heartbreaking for me. When I was a kid, I had chronic bronchitis and was very sick multiple times per year. To help me pass the hours, my dad would rent stuff at the video store. One time when I was about 12 he brought home a Gallagher tape.”
A fan also wrote, “One of the first comics I rented and watched repeatedly as a child. He was one of the reasons I would later decide to do comedy. And he’s the reason I still want a giant trampoline couch. RIP Gallagher.”
Gallagher Shot to Fame in 1980
Leo got his own comedy special on Showtime titled An Uncensored Evening in 1980, which got him wide recognition. The show, directed by Mike Nesmith, was the first comedy stand-up to air on cable television. The comedian then starred in 12 more specials for the network.
Gallagher was known for his wordplay, props and unique style. His signature move was to smash a watermelon with a sledgehammer and spray it on the audience. He termed the move ‘Sledge-O-Matic’. Gallagher toured extensively around America and continued to do so till the Covid pandemic hit.
The comedian is survived by his daughter Aimee and son Barnaby. Our heartfelt condolences to Gallagher’s family and friends.