The stand-up comedian, actor, and screenwriter first got his start in show business as a bodyguard for his brother, Eddie Murphy. He went on to appear in films from Harlem Nights to Roll Bounce, but he's best known for his work on Chappelle's Show. His true-to-life tales about hanging out with Rick James and Prince back in the day, adapted into skits featuring Chappelle, left an indelible mark on the world of comedy—and millions of viewers with cries of laughter.
Murphy had been receiving chemotherapy for leukemia at a hospital in New York, and passed unexpectedly on Wednesday, his publicist Domenick Nati told the Hollywood Reporter. He had recently just gone on tour with Cedric the Entertainer, George Lopez, D.L. Hughley, and Eddie Griffin, the New York Daily News reports.
A number of celebrities who admired Murphy's work took to Twitter to offer their condolences.
"At the end of the day, a million-dollar diamond will fucking rot," Murphy told Esquire in 2011. "Don't take life for granted. Don't take people for granted."
Follow Drew Schwartz on Twitter.