Charlie Murphy, perhaps most famous for being the older brother of comedy star Eddie Murphy, died in New York City on Wednesday. He was 57 years old. According to Charlie Murphy’s publicist, the cause of death was leukemia, which he had battled with for years. Chris Rock tweeted, “We just lost one of the funniest most real brothers of all time.” Several other comedians tweeted about their experiences with Charlie.
Neal Brennan, co-creator of Chappelle’s Show, tweeted upon hearing of the news, “Charlie Murphy changed my life. One of the most original people I’ve ever met. Hilarious dude. Habitual Line Stepper. So sad.” Charlie Murphy’s most famous role was probably his recurring role on the groundbreaking sketch comedy show Chappelle’s Show, headed by top stand-up comedian Dave Chappelle. “Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories” was a recurring segment on the show which spawned one of the show’s most famous sketches, in which he talked about he and Eddie meeting Rick James and Prince.
Charlie Murphy made his movie debut on Harlem Nights, a 1989 film directed by Eddie. He also played small roles in Mo’ Better Blues and Jungle Fever, both directed by Spike Lee. His and Eddie’s career continued to intertwine, as he also co-wrote two of Eddie’s movies, Vampire in Brooklyn and Norbit. Charlie would often defend his brother when they were growing up together in Brooklyn, and that role continued on when Eddie became famous; Charlie often served as Eddie’s security guard in the 1980s.
Charlie Murphy was married to Tisha Taylor Murphy for 12 years before she passed away in 2009 due to cervical cancer. Since then, Charlie had remained relatively active, lending his voice to several black-oriented animated series. As recent as 2016, he was participating in a stand-up comedy tour alongside Cedric the Entertainer and George Lopez.