TMZ is reporting that stand-up comedian Ralphie May has died from a cardiac arrest at a private residence in Las Vegas. He had been continuing to perform his nightly stand up routine as recently as the evening before his death at Harrah’s Resort and Casino, even though he had been fighting against an ongoing case of pneumonia for the prior six weeks.
May had risen to prominence when he was cast in the first season of NBC’s competition series, Last Comic Standing, where he finished in second place. Since that time he has performed in four Comedy Central specials and two on Netflix.
Always playing off of his good-ol-boy southern charm, he would attest:
“I’m real southern. I was born in Tennessee, raised in Arkansas, and moved to Texas when I was 18. I was my own cousin.”
In addition to his televised performances, he was a tireless performer, touring almost constantly. His publicist, Stacey Pokluda, told HuffPost of his continued success in comedy:
“Two days ago he won the Casino Comedian of the Year at the Global Gaming Expo and had performances throughout the remainder of 2017 as part of his residency at Harrah’s Las Vegas.”
May is survived by his ex-wife and fellow comedian Lahna Turner, whom he had divorced in 2015, and two children, daughter April June May and son August James May (yes, those really are their names).