Richard ‘Rik’ Mayall, star of Drop Dead Fred and The Young Ones died in his London home on Monday, according to his management. He was 56 years old.
According to the police, foul play is not suspected.
Mayall got his break in the 1980’s at The Comic Strip Club. He was part of the Comic Strip comedy group that became an inspiration to young comics, such as Adrian Edmondson, Jennifer Saunders, and Dawn French. He also co-wrote and starred in The Young Ones, a British sitcom that ran from 1982 to 1984.
The 1991 fantasy cult film Drop Dead Fred where he played the title role gained success in the U.S. and is a cult favorite up to this day. In the movie, he played Fred, an imaginary friend of a young girl played by Phoebe Cates.
Although he was into acting, Mayall continued his life as a comedian. He performed on Saturday Live, the British equivalent of the U.S. comedy skit show Saturday Night Live.
Edmondson, Mayall’s longtime friend said, “There were times when Rik and I were writing together when we almost died laughing. They were some of the most carefree, stupid days I ever had, and I feel privileged to have shared them with him. And now he’s died for real. Without me. Selfish bastard.”
Mayall’s cause of death is still unknown. According to London’s Metropolitan Police force, an ambulance service called police officers to report to Mayall’s home.
In 1998, Mayall had a quad bike accident that left him in a coma for several days. Last year, he said “The main difference between now and before my accident is I’m just very glad to be alive. Other people get moody in their 40’s and 50’s – men get the male menopause. I missed the whole thing. I was just really happy.”
Brusnkill, Mayall’s management company, issued a statement and said, “We are deeply saddened to announce the death of Rik Mayall who passed away this morning. We will be issuing a further statement in the fullness of time.”
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