Chris Farley Remembered by 'SNL' Co-Stars Adam Sandler and David Spade 21 Years After Fatal Overdose

Tuesday marked the 21-year anniversary of Chris Farley's death, and his friends and co-stars commemorated him in touching social media tributes.

Farley was a comedy icon of the 1990s. He cut his teeth in Chicago's legendary Second City Theatre doing improv comedy before breaking into the mainstream on Saturday Night Live. He then starred in some of the decade's greatest comedy movies. His friends and collaborators included Stephen Colbert, David Spade and Adam Sandler -- all of whom posted heartfelt messages for him on Tuesday.

"Chris Farley and I started at Second City on the same day," Colbert wrote. "You knew the minute you saw him on stage he was great. He was sweet and smart and funny. When I heard he had died, 21 years ago today, I fell to the ground. Rest In Peace."

"21 years ago one of the greats died Chris Farley," added Spade. "Here’s some gag reel stuff of him from Tommyboy."

"We all miss you, bud," Sandler wrote simply. He included a link to an on-stage tribute to Farley from his latest comedy special, 100% Fresh. In it, Sandler sang a song about Farley that was somehow funny and heart-warming all at once.

Farley was just 33 years old when he passed away due to a drug overdoes in 1997. His cause of death was chalked up to a fatal cocktail of cocaine and opiates -- substances he had an unfortunate history with.

Farley was a Madison, Wisconsin native who graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee. He discovered his love for comedy in college and continued at the Ark Improv Theatre after graduating. As he became more serious, he went out to Chicago to join Second City, where he found a lot of success in the touring group and on the Mainstage.

Farley joined the cast of Saturdy Night Live in 1990 -- the same season as Chris Rock. He formed a tight and famous friendship with Sandler, Rock, Spade and Rob Schneider, and the group continues to collaborate to this day, always noting the absence of their friend.


Farley left SNL in 1995. In a 2010 interview with Conan O'Brien, Sandler claimed that he and Farley were fired by executives high up the food chain at NBC. The two were known for off screen pranks that often ranged into the dangerous.

Farley would go on to make several classic comedy films before his sudden passing. On Dec. 18, 1997, his younger brother found him dead in his Chicago apartment. He has been commemorated countless times since, including in a documentary titled I Am Chris Farley, which is available to rent or purchase on Amazon Prime, iTunes and other services.