Patrice O’Neal was one of those comedians revered and feared for his boldness, a quality that set him apart from other shows. Sadly, his latest comic book skills entertained audiences on Charlie Sheen’s final Comedy Central Roast night in 2011, where he was the last to perform. The Roast broke a record at the time to become 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 passing, his legacy, and the family he left behind.
Patrice Malcolm O’Neal was 41 years old. Born on December 7, 1969 to a single mother, he was named after the country’s first prime minister, Patrice Lumumba, as well as Malcolm X.
A comedy lover since his high school days at West Roxbury High School, O’Neal landed a football scholarship to pursue comedy. He made his debut at Estelle’s in Boston, then in Comedy Cellar in Manhattan, before making a name for himself on the radio show Opie and Anthony.
The death of Patrice O’Neal
Patrice O’Neal’s death wasn’t entirely shocking to the world, like a stroke he suffered a month prior, setting many minds up to think he was probably living his last days. While it wasn’t a sudden demise, the comic world was still saddened by the loss of the comedian they loved to hate.
O’Neal had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes since the age of 23, a condition his mother also suffers from. Despite the early diagnosis, O’Neal never really took his health seriously…until it was too late. He was skipping meds and eating whatever he wanted. As a result, the comedian has struggled with his weight for most of his life.
Later, as an adult, O’Neal’s health bothered him enough that he decided to follow a vegan diet, but unfortunately it seemed to be too late. O’Neal suffered a stroke on October 19, 2011, and required immediate surgery after being taken to hospital.
A procedure performed removed a blood clot in his head, but it was not enough to improve the situation let alone prolong his life. O’Neal became unable to move his body or speak, communicating only with his eyes. On the morning of November 29, 2011, O’Neal finally succumbed to the heart attack.
His manager Matt Frost released an official statement confirming O’Neal’s passing. The comedian’s funeral was held on December 5, 2011 at Park Avenue Christian Church. A number of fellow comedians from Chris Rock to Kevin Hart were in attendance.
Over the course of his career, O’Neal has achieved a lot that many other comedians could only wish for. He had comedy specials with HBO and Comedy Central and appeared in a handful of films from Spike Lee (25th Hour) to Nature Calls (2012), his debut and his later films, respectively. He also starred in several television roles, and voiced the character of Jeffron James in 2008’s Grand Theft Auto IV
O’Neal’s first live album, Mr. P which he had prepared before his death was posthumously released on February 7, 2012. The album topped the Billboard Comedy Albums chart and peaked at number 35 on the Billboard 200. Proceeds from this album were given to his family. O’Neal’s net worth at the time of his death was estimated at half a million dollars.
Patrice O’Neal wife, girlfriend (Vondecarlo Brown)
Among O’Neal’s survivors is Vondecarlo Brown, his longtime girlfriend and fiancé whom he often referred to as his wife. O’Neal’s death in November ruined their wedding which was planned for December. Vondecarlo Brown had been with O’Neal for a decade.
A comedian in her own right, Brown has since assumed her husband’s passing, dedicated 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 which was released in November 2012 on iTunes. Brown is the author of “Speak Fluent Man: Top Things Women Should Consider Before Blaming the Man.”
Although O’Neal and Vndecarlo had no children together, O’Neal served as a father figure to his daughter, Amilyom, who was born in 2000 from a previous relationship.
Standing at a towering 6-foot-4, and a spot weight of around 300 pounds, O’Neal commanded every step he climbed, which complimented his confrontational comedic style.