Charlie Murphy, the comedian who emerged from the shadow of his famous brother Eddie to become a popular stand-up, actor, and writer in his own right, has died, TMZ reports. According to his manager, Murphy died earlier today at a New York City hospital, where he had been undergoing treatment for leukemia. The death came as a shock, report family members, because Murphy’s condition appeared to be improving. He was 57.
After serving in the U.S. Navy from 1978-1984, Murphy spent the remainder of the ‘80s traveling the world with his superstar younger brother while working behind the scenes with the hip-hop group K-9 Posse. He began acting in the early ‘90s, including a lead role in the 1993 hip-hop parody film CB4. But he first broke through to a wider audience as a cast member on Chappelle’s Show, where he re-enacted his own misadventures in the recurring—and highly quotable— “Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories” sketches.
During Chappelle’s Show’s run, Murphy launched a stand-up career, eventually leading to his own Comedy Central special in 2010 and, more recently, “The Comedy Get Down” tour with Cedric the Entertainer, Eddie Griffin, George Lopez, and D.L. Hughley. He also appeared on the TBS sitcom Are We There Yet? and the Adult Swim series Black Jesus and The Boondocks, among other acting roles. As a writer, Charlie Murphy shared screenwriting credit on the Eddie Murphy movies Vampire In Brooklyn and Norbit, and co-wrote and starred in the 2002 Rock-A-Fella records production Paper Soldiers.
Murphy’s wife, Tisha Taylor Murphy, died in 2009 of cervical cancer. He is survived by his three children.