Charlie Murphy, comedian, actor, “Chappelle Show” star and Eddie Murphy's older brother, died Wednesday morning from leukemia, according to his publicist. He was 57.
The self-described “hothead” worked as a bodyguard during the early years of his brother’s comedy career. He wanted Eddie to succeed so much that he’d pick a fight with anyone who didn’t laugh at his brother’s jokes when he performed.
"It was to the point that, if I went to a show and you were the hater in the audience that was like, 'That…wasn't funny' POW! I'm jamming you, man," Murphy once said. "There was 10,000 people laughing, and you that one joker that wanna try and squeeze a lemon. I don't even want you to be there. And I took it as a personal crusade, and they were like, 'You know what, you're a little overzealous with your job.' So, that is how I ended up not doing that anymore."
Murphy became famous in his own right as a regular on Dave Chappelle's Comedy Central skit show. One of the funniest segments was stories of interactions with celebrities met while working with his younger brother during the 1980s, including the late Rick James and Prince.
He recalled that James had a fascination with him and always wanted to take him to “the abyss.” Murphy told him, “Rick wants to go to the abyss. In fact, he dwells in the abyss. And he wants company sometimes, and for some reason, he likes to reach out for me. And I'm not with it. And that's when we would end up tussling."
The comedian also shared an amazing tale about the legendary musician, Prince, which was made into a skit for “Chappelle Show.” Chappelle played Prince in the skit. Murphy said he and his friends played basketball against Prince and his entourage one night in the 1980s. He was surprised how good of a player Prince was. Afterward, Prince made everyone pancakes, and Prince himself later confirmed the story was true.
Murphy also appeared in numerous movies, TV shows and even lent his voice to some video games.
"We just lost one of the funniest most real brothers of all time. Charlie Murphy RIP," Chris Rock wrote on Twitter. Mogul Russell Simmons tweeted: "Just came out of meditation and learned that one of my friends and my biggest comedy idol passed. Damn I loved Charlie Murphy."
"Terribly saddened ... Charlie," comedian Paul Mooney wrote.