Comedian Leo Gallagher, famously known for smashing watermelons as part of his legendary act, has died at age 76.
Gallagher died early Friday morning, Nov. 11, while under hospice care in the Palm Springs area, according to his manager Craig Marquardo.
His manager told TMZ Gallagher died of massive organ failure.
According to a statement provided to CNN by Marquardo, the comedian died “after a short health battle” and “passed away surrounded by his family in Palm Springs, California.”
He had been sick for a while, suffering numerous heart attacks over the years.
The rep tells TMZ, “Gallagher stayed on the road touring America for decades. He was pretty sure he held a record for the most stand-up dates, by attrition alone,” adding, “While Gallagher had his detractors, he was an undeniable talent and an American success story.”
Gallagher started working as a comedian after college. He got his big break after appearing on Johnny Carson’s “Tonight Show” back in 1975 and quickly became one of the most popular and recognizable comedians in America.
He became a household name in the early ’80s with a comedy special titled “An Uncensored Evening.” the first comedy stand up special ever to air on cable television, according to an obituary shared by Marquardo.
Gallagher’s trademark involved a hand-made sledgehammer he called the “Sledge-O-Matic,” which he would use to smash food on stage, spraying the audience.