Patrice O’Neal was one of those comedians who was adored and feared for his boldness, a trait that made him stand out in the shows. Unfortunately, the last time the audience was entertained by his comedic skills was at The Comedy Central Roast of Charlie Sheen in 2011, where he performed as the last act. The Roast broke a record at that time and became the highest-rated edition of The Comedy Roast. O’Neal sadly passed away in November 2011, here’s everything you need to know about his death, his legacy, and the family he left behind.
Patrice O’Neal Brief Bio
Patrice Malcolm O’Neal was 41 years old. He was born on 7 December 1969 as the son of a single mother and named after the independent Congolese leader Patrice Lumumba, the country’s first prime minister, and Malcolm X.
O’Neal has been a comedy lover since his high school days at West Roxbury High School. He received a football scholarship to pursue comedy, starting with Estelle’s in Boston and later Manhattan’s Comedy Cellar, before gaining mainstream recognition with the radio show Opie and Anthony.
Patrice O’Neal’s Death
Patrice O’Neal’s death was not entirely shocking to the world, because a stroke he suffered a month earlier prepared many minds that he was probably living his last days. Although it was not a sudden passing, the comic world was still saddened by the loss of the comedian it loved to hate.
O’Neal had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes since he was 23 years old, a disease from which his mother also suffers. Despite the early diagnosis, O’Neal never really took his health seriously… well, until it was too late. He stopped taking medication and ate whatever suited him, which meant that the comedian struggled with his weight for most of his life.
Later in adulthood, O’Neal’s state of health disturbed him so much that he decided to go on a vegan diet, but unfortunately, it seemed to be too late. O’Neal suffered a stroke on October 19, 2011, and had to be operated on immediately after he was taken to the hospital by the fastest route.
The surgery removed a blood clot in his head, but it was not enough to improve the situation, let alone prolong his life. O’Neal was no longer able to move his body or give a speech, he could only communicate with his eyes. On the morning of November 29, 2011, O’Neal finally succumbed to the stroke.
His manager Matt Frost published an official statement confirming O’Neal’s death. The comedian’s funeral took place on December 5, 2011, at the Christian Church on Park Avenue. A number of fellow comedians, from Chris Rock to Kevin Hart, were present.
In his career, O’Neal has achieved much that many other comedians could only wish for. He has had comedy specials on HBO and Comedy Central and has appeared in a handful of films, from Spike Lee’s 25th Hour to Nature Calls (2012) his debut and recent films. He has also appeared in a number of television roles and sang the role of Jefferson James in Grand Theft Auto IV from 2008.
O’Neal’s first live comedy album Mr. P, which he had prepared before his death, was released posthumously on February 7, 2012. The album topped the Billboard comedy album charts, reaching number 35 on the Billboard 200, and the proceeds from the album were donated to his family. O’Neal’s net worth was estimated at half a million dollars at the time of his death.
Patrice O’Neal Wife, Girlfriend (Vondecarlo Brown)
Among O’Neal’s survivors are Vondecarlo Brown, his long-time girlfriend, and fiancée, whom he often referred to as his wife. O’Neal’s death in November ruined their wedding, which was planned for December. Von Decarlo Brown was with O’Neal for a decade.
Since the death of her alleged husband, Brown, who is a comedian herself, has devoted her time to preserving his legacy. She played a key role in the production of Better Than You, a documentary about O’Neal’s career that was released on iTunes in November 2012. Brown is the author of “Speak Fluent Man”: “The most important things women should consider before blaming the man”.
Although O’Neal and Vndecarlo had no children together, O’Neal was the father figure of their daughter Amilyom, who was born in 2000 out of a previous relationship.
O’Neal stood on a towering figure of 6 feet 4 inches and a unique weight of about 300 pounds and mastered every step he climbed, complementing his confrontational comic style.