Comedian and former WWE/WWF writer Patrice O’Neal has died at the age of 41 – a month after suffering a serious stroke that left him unable to speak.
The news was broken by the Opie and Anthony Show, the same program which first revealed details of his illness.
The show’s official Twitter feed said: “Yes it’s true that our pal Patrice O’Neal has passed away. The funniest and best thinker I’ve ever known. Period.”
O’Neal was a comic since 1992, and spent some time in the late ’90s honing his act on the UK circuit. In February this year, he had his first Comedy Central hour-long special, ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM.
O’Neal spoke to Atlantic City Weekly last year about his time on the WWE creative team. Below is what he had to say:
It was actually a dream situation, but I think if I had kept doing it, it wouldn’t have been a dream. When I stopped doing it, it was perfect. It was just to be able to say I did it and it was like, ‘Wow, I actually got the job!’ You know, you had to audition to get it so I actually wrote a scenario where they wanted me to write a finish to an existing beef and conclude it in a Pay-per-View match. I think I was doing the Undertaker and Triple H and I had to escalate it for three weeks and then end it with a Pay-per-View. At the time I was really into wrestling so that was easy to do and my writing sample got the job. It was fun; I flew around on a WWE jet, [got to] roll with some of the big-time wrestlers … and directed a couple of vignettes. [WWE chairman and CEO] Vince McMahon was one of the few people I’ve ever seen that I was in complete awe of his presence, you know? He was the man, he was the boss. I learned a lot of things in like three days looking at Vince McMahon and how he operates; it was a hell of a thing. So when that ended it was almost like it should’ve ended cause it was a good experience and I didn’t have to see anything I shouldn’t see and didn’t have to deal with anything I shouldn’t have dealt with. It was just short and sweet.