Comedian Kevin Barnett's Brother Reveals Reaction to His Death: 'I Thought He'd Been Kidnapped in Mexico'

Kevin Barnett's family was so shocked by the news that the comedian had unexpectedly passed away at the age of 32 that his brother, Korey Witha K, initially thought something else entirely had happened.

Speaking with PEOPLE just days after news broke that Barnett, a stand-up comic known for writing on Rel, Broad City, and other productions, had passed away, his older brother recalled the moment he got the call learning of his death, admitting that at first he believed Barnett had been kidnapped in Mexico.

"I haven't seen my dad in person. I know he went over to Mexico to verify everything. I drove down from Tallahassee to see my mom and my brother, Kristopher. She's like eight of 13 children, so there are a lot of aunties involved. She's not taking it very well," Korey recalled. "She knew something bad might happen, but she never thought it would happen to one of us."

"When I got the call, I thought maybe he got kidnapped or maybe something else," he said. "I didn't expect this."

Over the weekend, Barnett had shared a photo of himself walking along a sidewalk in Mexico. It would be his last social media post before his death on Tuesday in Tijuana, Mexico.

"In mexico. Bought myself a sweater," he wrote. "Been accused of appropriation several times. In my head I just gave a lady some money so I ain't cold. Either way. Swag heavy. Mixtape comin."

(Photo: Instagram @fatboybarnett)

"When I saw the picture on Instagram, I said, 'Wow. What are you doing in Mexico?'" Korey explained. "He knows…that Mexico isn't the place to be going to. I've been there and we saw the dangers of it quickly."

After the realization sank in that Barnett was gone, Korey said he broke into tears.


"I went outside, sat down and cried a little bit, but then I got angry. I just started thinking about different things — things that can go through someone's head for a while," he said. "What's the point of doing things now? The point for me was to show my brother, then everyone else after him. It redefines my purpose. I was upset with him at first, but there's nothing I can do."

Although details of the circumstances surrounding Barnett's death were not immediately available, the U.S. State Department confirmed Thursday that an autopsy found his cause of death to be "Non Traumatic Hemorrhage, caused by pancreatitis."