Comedy legend Rik Mayall was found dead at his home in Barnes yesterday at the age of 56.
Alongside his friend Adrian Edmondson, Mayall was a pioneer of the 1980s alternative comedy scene, and was best known for his role in The Young Ones and the sitcom Bottom.
Police were called to reports of a sudden death of a man in his 50s just after 1:00pm yesterday. They are not treating the death as suspicious and the cause of death is still unknown.
Mayall was married to make-up artist Barbara Robbin and had three children.
His unexpected death was mourned by many on Twitter, including David Walliams.
“I am heartbroken that my comedy idol growing up Rik Mayall has died. He made me want to be a comedian,” he said.
Mayall met comedy partner Edmondson at Manchester University where they formed The Dangerous Brothers, later getting their big break at the iconic Comic Strip Club.
“There were times when Rik and I were writing together when we almost died laughing,” said Edmondson.
“They were some of the most carefree stupid days I ever had, and I feel privileged to have shared them with him.
“And now he’s died for real. Without me. Selfish bastard.”
Many remember Mayall for his role in Blackadder, where he played loud-mouthed Lord Flashheart.
“If you look at something like Blackadder Two, Rik just had quite a small part in that series – but it’s one of the most memorable scenes in any series of Blackadder,” said the BBC’s director of television, Danny Cohen.
The actor had a serious quad bike accident in 1998 which left him in a coma for several days.
Mayall said doctors had kept him alive on a life-support machine for five days and were about to turn it off when he began to show signs of life.
He marked the occasion by exchanging presents with his wife and children and said the near-death experience changed his life.
He said: “The main difference between now and before my accident is I’m just very glad to be alive.”
Photo courtesy of Channel 4 via YouTube with thanks.
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