Gallagher has died at the age of 76.
The legendary comedian – whose real name was Leo Anthony Gallagher Jr and who was known for smashing watermelons as part of his act – passed away on Friday (11.11.22) after suffering “massive organ failure” which followed several years of heart attacks, a representative has confirmed.
The rep told TMZ: “He died of a massive organ failure. He had been in ill health for a while, suffering numerous heart attacks over the years. 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.”
The rep went on to describe Gallagher – who is survived by his children, Barnaby and Aimee and reportedly passed away at a hospice in Palm Springs, California – as the “number one” funnyman in his home country for more than a decade and attributed his popularity to his stand-up specials that were broadcast on MTV.
The rep added: “Gallagher was the No. 1 comedian in America for 15 years, with some of that due to the popularity of his stand-up specials airing on MTV in its early days, bringing him an entirely new audience. He was pretty sure he held a record for the most stand-up dates, by attrition alone.”
Fellow comedian Christopher Titus paid tribute to Gallagher upon hearing about his death and took to Twitter to explain that he had “loved” his “weird comedy act.
He tweeted: “I loved Gallagher as a kid, what a weird combination of smart one liners and smashing fruit. I think he got locked in, that was his “Gilligan” bit, and people demanded it!”