UK standup comedian Ian Cognito dies onstage during show

LONDON — British standup comedian Ian Cognito has died on stage during a gig.

South Central Ambulance Service said Friday that medics were called to a club in Bicester, southern England, Thursday night, and "sadly one patient passed away at the scene." Police said the death was not suspicious.

Show organizer Andrew Bird told the BBC that when Cognito sat down and fell silent, "everyone in the crowd, me included, thought he was joking."

Cognito, whose real name was Paul Barbieri, never achieved wide fame but was highly respected among fellow comedians.

Entertainer Jimmy Carr tweeted of Cognito's onstage death: "That's commitment to comedy."

"Little Britain" star Matt Lucas tweeted: "He was always kind to me when I started out, and brilliant and provocative and entirely original onstage. What a loss."

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