The middle of 2017 is shaping up to be a period of major celebrity deaths, calling to mind the rather “deadly” ending of 2016. Some very notable names include Adam West, the actor who played Bruce Wayne/Batman in the campy 1966 TV series; then there were rock icons Chris Cornell of Soundgarden and Chester Bennington of Linkin Park. Now another luminary has also passed on: slapstick comedian and TV personality Jerry Lewis. The legendary star, who hosted over four decades of a Labor Day Telethon for the benefit of the Muscular Dystrophy Association and rare recipient of two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, died the morning of Sunday at the age of 91.

Heart stopped ticking

The veteran actor, TV show host and activist for muscular dystrophy passed away at his home in Las Vegas, Nevada on August 20, 9:15 AM (Pacific Time). It was confirmed by Coroner John Fudenberg of Clark County that Jerry Lewis, born Jerome/Joseph Levitch on March 16, 1926, died of natural causes. A death certificate signed by the nonagenarian star’s personal doctor would have it that he succumbed to an end-stage cardiac arrest. To tell a long story short, the star with a great heart, proven by his long-running MDA telethons, simply had his heart give out after over nine decades of living life to the full.

A spokesman remarks that on the day Lewis died he was with his family at his bedside.

Furthermore, no autopsy of his body will be performed as he passed on with his physician attending to him until his very last moments. Lewis is immediately survived by SanDee Patrick, his second wife, their adopted daughter, and his surviving five sons (one also adopted) from his first marriage with Patti Palmer.

Inspiration of comic actors

Jerry Lewis first came into the spotlight as one-half of a successful comedy duo with Dean Martin. After going their separate ways by 1956, he went on to great success as a solo comedy star, with 1963’s “The Nutty Professor” (remade in 1996 starring Eddie Murphy, with Lewis executive producing) as one of his most prominent hits.

Unfortunately, his brand of comic humor would not transition well over the decades, and he would later spend more time off-camera save for when doing his Mda Labor Day Telethon, which he hosted from 1966 to 2010.

Celebrities were quick to make their voice heard following Lewis’ death. Various comedic actors such as Jim Carrey and Josh Gad spoke highly of the departed icon, with Carrey going so far as to credit Lewis for inspiring his own acting. “I am because he was,” he stated.