Dick Gregory has died at age 84. Now, the world is mourning the loss of one of the most influential comedians and civil rights activists of our time. Dick Gregory died of heart failure with his family members by his side, according to a statement by his longtime publicist to The Hollywood Reporter. Gregory’s publicist, Steve Jaffe, told THR he hopes “God is ready for some outrageously funny times.”
Reverend Jesse Jackson was one of the first people to post a reaction to the death of Dick Gregory. Jackson took to Twitter to caption a photo of Gregory with: “He taught us how to laugh. He taught us how to fight. He taught us how to live. Dick Gregory was committed to justice. I miss him already.”
In the aftermath of Dick Gregory’s death, many other celebrities took to Twitter to remember the legendary comedian and activist, including John Legend, who produced the off-Broadway play Turn Me Loose. The hit 2016 play starred actor Joe Morton (Scandal) as Dick Gregory in a comedic drama about the life of the legendary comedian and civil rights activist. John Legend, who signed on to produce Turn Me Loose because he was fascinated by Dick Gregory’s story, wrote that Gregory lived “an amazing, revolutionary life,” and he called him “a groundbreaker in comedy and a voice for justice.”
In addition to Legend’s tribute, actor Wesley Snipes wrote of Dick Gregory: “You undoubtedly left your “I was here” mark on the world. Rest in power king.”
And comedian Bill Cosby broke a month-long social media silence to say goodbye to Gregory. Dick Gregory had remained close with Cosby even amid the Cosby Show star’s fall after dozens of sexual assault allegations all but ended his career. In 2015, Dick Gregory told the Chicago Tribune that while he was not saying that Cosby didn’t do anything wrong, he pointed out that his friend has never been found guilty of anything, and he questioned why so many women were coming out with allegations about him so many years later.
“The world is fed by greed,” Gregory said at the time. Dick also added that he still talked to Cosby “all the time.”
“I don’t detect nothing new in his voice, but you should in someone who goes through that,” he said.
In a series of tweets, Cosby said goodbye to his longtime friend Dick Gregory, describing the pioneering comic as “fearless.”
His comedy showed his education, intelligence, and was inclusive of humanitarianism along with great timing.— Bill Cosby (@BillCosby) August 20, 2017
The man went off the stage into the arena of Civil Rights worldwide facing his enemies.— Bill Cosby (@BillCosby) August 20, 2017
He was FEARLESS— Bill Cosby (@BillCosby) August 20, 2017
Rest in Power Dick Gregory— Bill Cosby (@BillCosby) August 20, 2017
Many other big names took to social media to remember Dick Gregory, including LeVar Burton, Samuel L. Jackson, and Ava DuVernay, who posted a long quote by Gregory with her tribute.
Comedian Dick Gregory always told it like it is. Our laughter was fuel to fight for justice in an unjust world. RIP 1932-2017 pic.twitter.com/wpbdEkvny1— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) August 20, 2017
RIP Dick Gregory, A 5 Star General in The War for Human Rights!! Glad to have been in your sphere.— Samuel L. Jackson (@SamuelLJackson) August 20, 2017
My Dear, Dear Mentor, Teacher, Supportive Dick Gregory, I will always remember and live what you gave me and taught me Soar High Baba! Ache!— Iyanla Vanzant (@IyanlaVanzant) August 20, 2017
Rest n Peace Dick Gregory. Warrior, soldier, revolutionary....Your voice will be missed in this troubled world.— David Alan Grier (@davidalangrier) August 20, 2017
Dick Gregory, God Bless your Soul and may Angels guide thee to thy rest!— LeVar Burton (@levarburton) August 20, 2017
Take a look at the video below to see one of Dick Gregory’s more recent stand-up acts.
[Featured Image by Stephen Boitano/Getty Images]