Actor and comedian Bernie Mac passed away at the age of 50 at Northwestern Hospital early Saturday morning.
Mac was hospitalized with pneumonia on July 24th and on August 2nd, a source close to the family said that Mac was in “very, very critical” condition. The news comes just one day after reports that Mac was recovering and would be released from the hospital in a few weeks.
“Actor/comedian Bernie Mac passed away this morning from complications due to pneumonia in a Chicago area hospital,” his publicist, Danica Smith, said in a statement from Los Angeles.
She said no other details were available and asked that his family’s privacy be respected.
Career highlights for the Chicago native include his FOX sitcom “The Bernie Mac Show” and his co-starring role in the popular “Ocean’s” series opposite George Clooney and Brad Pitt. He had recently completed the movie Old Dogs and has two movies opening in November, DreamWorks’ animated sequel Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa and Malcolm Lee’s Soul Men.
Mac leaves behind Rhonda, his wife of 30 years, their daughter Je’Niece and a granddaughter Jasmine.
“Ocean’s” franchise co-stars George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Don Cheadle and Carl Reiner commented on the loss of their friend on Saturday.
“The world just got a little less funny. He will be missed dearly,” said Clooney.
Pitt said, “I lament the loss of a ferociously funny and hardcore family man. My thoughts are with Rhonda and their family. Bernie Mac, you are already missed.”
Cheadle added, “This is a very sad day for many of us who knew and loved Bernie. He brought so much joy to so many. He will be missed, but heaven just got funnier.”
Reiner said, “It’s a tremendous loss because of his age and the fact that he was such a vital, original human being. When I use the word ‘original’ I really mean it. He was like no other person I knew. He lived his life to the fullest, even when we were on the set of ‘Ocean’s.’ He had his own little apartment and he cooked and invited people to lunch every day and he had food that was for everybody. He made very exotic things. His conversations were always different than any conversations I had with anyone else. They were very family-oriented; he talked about his wife and children with such love and it’s very hard to believe that he’s not with us anymore.”
Samuel L. Jackson, Mac’s co-star in the upcoming Soul Men, said: “It goes without saying that Bernie was one of the preeminent comedians of our generation. He was also an attentive husband, a great father and loving grandfather. I feel blessed to have shared years of friendship with Bernie Mac and I’m honored to have finally costarred with him in what I consider to be his finest cinematic acting achievement. My sincere prayer is that his family will be comforted by the warmth of love from all of us who knew and respected this man.”
Fox Broadcasting Company and 20th Century Fox Television also released the following statement: “Bernie Mac was a gifted talent whose comedy came from an authentic and highly personal place. He was a tremendous live performer and a wonderful actor. Fox was proud to be the home of ‘The Bernie Mac Show,’ and all of us at Fox and 20th Century Fox Television extend our deepest sympathies to his wife, Rhonda, and daughter, JeNiece.”