Comedian Gallagher’s Death at 76 Brings Tears to Everyone — US day News

4 min readNov 11, 2022

Comedian Leo Anthony Gallagher, widely known as Gallagher passed away on November 11, 2022. Gallagher’s cause of death was announced after his death at 76.

The comedian’s agent, Craig Marquardo, confirmed the devastating news on Friday, sharing that Gallagher had “succumbed to his ailments and passed away surrounded by his family in Palm Springs, California.”

According to reliable sources, Gallagher died under hospice care. Other sources also reported that his family confirmed his passing following organ failure.

The legendary comedian had experienced several health setbacks over the past years and was put in a medically induced coma in 2012 after suffering a heart attack.

It was his second heart attack in as many years after the comedian collapsed on stage in Minnesota in 2011.

Still, according to a statement by his agent, Gallagher “toured steadily until the COVID-19 pandemic, after which he spent his time between visiting his son, Barnaby, and his daughter Aimee, who had appeared with him on his specials when she was little.”

Leo Anthony Gallagher Jr. was born on July 24, 1946, in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He became one of the most recognizable comedians of the 1980s for his prop and observational routine that included the signature act of smashing a watermelon on stage with a sledgehammer.

He played between 100–200 shows a year for more than 30 years, destroying tens of thousands of watermelons with the sledgehammer he called the “ Sledge-O-Matic “.

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Details of Gallagher’s Cause of Death and Illness

Gallagher’s cause of death was a result of organ failure. Watermelon-smashing comedian’s death at the age of 76 was confirmed by his family.

Leo Anthony Gallagher had suffered numerous heart attacks over the years and had been unwell for a while before passing away from massive organ failure.

The talented artist began working as comic/musician Jim Stafford‘s road manager after finishing college. Stafford and Leo traveled to California in 1969, during which time Leo decided to perform himself.

Gallagher began honing his own comedy act while frequenting both The Ice House and The Comedy Store. He performed twice on The Tonight Show when American producer Johnny Carson was hosting, though Johhny disliked prop comedy.

Leo first appeared on the show on December 5, 1975, when he demonstrated his prop, “The Tonight Show Home Game”. He appeared on the show for the second time on May 9, 1979.

Gallagher performed several times on the show when guest hosts were filling in for Carson. He also made an appearance on The Mike Douglas Show and The Merv Griffin Show.

The comedian made several appearances at Playboy Clubs. His first comedy special, “ An Uncensored Evening,” was the 1st comedy stand-up special ever to air on cable television.

The late comedian is survived by his children, Barnaby and Aimee.

After the devastating news of Gallagher’s death was revealed, his fans and friends expressed their deepest sadness. Many people also took to Twitter to send their tributes to the late comedian.

“I loved Gallagher as a kid, what a weird combination of smart one liners and smashing fruit. I think he got locked in, that was his “Gilligan” bit, and people demanded it. I met him at baggage claim at LAX, he wasn’t nice. but RIP anyway,” Christopher Titus wrote.

Patton Oswalt tweeted: “The sledgehammer of death falls on all of us, but Gallagher knew that when life splashes its messiest debris upon us, you could always reach for the tarp of faith and friendship.”

Brad Williams wrote: “RIP Gallagher. There’s a lot you can make fun of him for (the Gallagher 2 story, Sledge-O-Matic, run for governor) but if you take away the hammer, he was one of the most original, intelligent voices in comedy. Specials were legendary.

Williams continued: “I only met him once, I was backstage at a comedy club and the club owner told me Gallagher was in the audience. Not to do time, not to make a show. Just to see comedy. It was strange doing a show for a comedy icon sitting front row. But he came backstage afterward, we had a nice talk. RIP Legend.”

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Originally published at on November 11, 2022.




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