American civil rights activist, social critic, entrepreneur, comedian, writer and actor, Richard Claxton Gregory, also known as Dick Gregory has passed on. The legend died in Washington DC hospital where he was admitted on August 12, with an undisclosed illness. The Hollywood Reporter revealed that the cause of his death was heart failure. The tragic news was shared by his son, Christian Gregory on social media. He passed away on Saturday at 84 years old.

Jesse Jackson and Steve Jaffe pay tribute to the late comedian

His publicist of 50 years, Steve Jaffe praised Gregory for his sweet, smart and loving nature.

He added that he hoped that God is ready to some jokes and that a full statement and details of the fallen hero will be released on Sunday. He was the first African-American comedian to perform in front of white audiences regularly where he would mock racism. He appeared in all TV talk shows of the 1960s and 1970s. US Civil Rights Activist Jesse Jackson also paid tribute to the late comedy star on Twitter where he said that he taught them how to laugh, fight and live and was committed to justice, and he was already missing him.

Gregory’s funniest lines

Gregory was creative in his performances were raising eyebrows. He once said that a southern liberal would be the guy that will lynch you from a low tree.

In another show, he had said segregation was not all bad and asked his audience if they had ever heard a bus collision where the people in the back got hurt. Perhaps his best joke was when he said that he had heard there was a lot of black astronauts, being saved for the first spaceflight to the sun. There was a day he checked into a restaurant in the segregated South, and the waitress told him they were not serving colored people there, and his response was that he didn’t eat black people and ordered her to bring him a whole fried chicken.

How Dick became a star

Gregory became a sensation in 1961 after he was booked into the Playboy Club in downtown Chicago as a replacement for a night that Prof Irwin Corey wouldn’t be available. He was paid $50 for the show at the time, which was a good pay for him at the time. He got so much attention that he was featured in Time magazine.

He was invited to perform on the Tonight Show in 1962, but he said he would do that on only one condition that he would be allowed to sit down with Jack Paar and be interviewed. After the show, he started earning $5,000 a night in Playboy Club. The world can’t stop laughing at his jokes even after he passes on. He will be missed for his humor, rest in peace Dick Gregory.