Patrice O’Neal was one of those comedians revered and feared for his boldness, a quality that made him stand out at the shows. Unfortunately, the last time audiences would be entertained by his comic abilities was at The Comedy Central Roast of Charlie Sheen in 2011 where he was the last act to perform. The Roast broke a record at the time to become the highest rated edition of the comedy roasts. O’Neal sadly passed away in November 2011. Here is everything you need to know about his death, 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 Congolese Independent leader Patrice Lumumba the country’s first Prime Minister, as well as Malcolm X.
A comedy lover since his high school days at West Roxbury High School, O’Neal passed on a football scholarship to pursue comedy and got his start with Estelle’s in Boston and later Manhattan’s Comedy Cellar before gaining mainstream recognition with the Opie and Anthony radio show.
Patrice O’Neal’s Death
Patrice O’Neal’s death was not entirely shocking to the world as a stroke he suffered a month prior prepared many minds that he was probably living his last days. Despite not being 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 that his mother also suffers. Despite the early diagnosis, O’Neal never really took his health seriously… well until it became too late. He’d skip medication and eat whatever he felt like, as a result, the comedian struggled with his weight for the most part of his life.
Later in adulthood, O’Neal’s health bothered him enough that he decided to go on a vegan diet, but unfortunately, it seemed to be too late. O’Neal suffered a stroke on October 19th, 2011 and required immediate surgery after he was rushed to the hospital.
A procedure carried out got rid of a blood clot in his head, but it wasn’t enough to better the situation let alone prolong his life. O’Neal became unable to move his body or make a speech, communicating only with his eyes. In the morning of November 29th, 2011, O’Neal finally succumbed to the stroke.
His manager Matt Frost released an official statement confirming O’Neal’s death. A funeral was held for the comedian on December 5th, 2011 at the Park Avenue Christian Church. A number of fellow ace comedians from Chris Rock to Kevin Hart were in attendance.
In his career, O’Neal achieved a lot of things many other comedians could only wish for. He had comedy specials with HBO and Comedy Central and appeared in a handful of movies from Spike Lee’s 25th Hour to Nature Calls (2012) his debut and his final films respectively. He also appeared in a number of TV roles and voiced the character of Jeffron James in 2008’s Grand Theft Auto IV.
O’Neal’s first comedy live album, Mr. P which he had prepared prior to 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 the album were donated 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 long-term girlfriend, and fiance whom he often referred to as his wife. O’Neal’s passing in November ruined their wedding which was planned for December. Vondecarlo Brown was with O’Neal for a decade.
A comedian in her own right, Brown has since her supposed husband’s passing, been dedicating her time to preserving his legacy. She played a key role in the production of Better Than You, a documentary on O’Neal’s career which was released in November 2012 on iTunes. Brown is the author of “Speak Fluent Man: The Top Things Women Should Consider Before Blaming The Man.”
Though O’Neal and Vndecarlo had no kids together, O’Neal served as the father figure to her daughter Amilyom born in 2000 from a previous relationship.
Standing at a towering figure of 6 feet 4 inches, and a one-time weight of approximately 300 pounds O’Neal commanded every stage he mounted which complimented his confrontational comic style.