British comedian Ian Cognito dies on stage at the age of 60

 
 

The iconoclast comedy vet fell ill mid-set on Thursday night

British Comedian Ian Cognito has died at the age of 60.

During a stand-up performance in England, at Atic in Bicester on Thursday night (April 11), the comedy veteran took a seat near the midpoint of his set and began to breathe heavily, according to BBC News. Believing it was part of his material, the crowd reportedly laughed, but after club owner Andrew Bird went to check on him onstage, it became clear to him that it was no joke.

Authorities later confirmed that Cognito, born Paul Barbieri, died at the scene, even after two off-duty nurses and a police officer performed chest compressions.

Following the news, droves of fans and fellow comics paid tribute to Cognito, stressing his commitment to the craft, and how he died in his element.

“Veteran stand-up comedian Ian Cognito has died on-stage — literally,” Jimmy Carr tweeted earlier today. “The audience thought it was part of the act. Died with his boots on. That’s commitment to comedy. I’ll never forget his kindness when I started out & how god damn funny he was.”

Read more tribute to Cognito here.