John Edward Szeles, the standup comic and magician best known as The Amazing Jonathan, has died. Szeles passed away at his Las Vegas, Nevada home on Tuesday, Feb. 21 after battling heart issues for years. He was 63.
Szeles wife, sideshow stunt artist Anastasia Synn, confirmed the news to the Las Vegas Journal-Review about a half-hour after his 11:30 p.m. death. Synn told the outlet that "the last thing I said to him was, 'I love you, honey, I'll be with you when you get up from your nap.'" She added that family was "feeding him oranges and strawberries," and Szeles "was so peaceful. He said, 'Yay!' He had the most pure and sweetest look on his face." She shared that "for the next 36 hours, he was unresponsive. We spent that time snuggling with him."
Szeles' death came after he told an audience at an ENTSpeaks event at Inspire Theater in downtown Las Vegas in 2014 that he had just a year to live. Speaking to the audience, he said, "the greatest time of my life was spent here. I made millions of dollars, I have two beautiful houses, and everything came crashing ... down. And I was told I have a year to live." Szeles had been struggling with cardiomyopathy, a degenerative disease that weakens the heart muscle, since 2009. His health began to rapidly decline in recent days, with his wife sharing in a social media post on Tuesday, "I'm losing my beautiful, brilliant husband."
"His decline was fast, but it also wasn't. He is so strong. He has beaten the odds for so long. I know you all love him so much and everyone wants to say goodbye," she wrote, "I don't think we thought this day would ever come because he is so strong and has beaten it so many times. Thank you for all the well wishes, but as the news spreads it's getting overwhelming and I'm going to have to take a step back. I love you and thank you for your support."
Born in Detroit, Michigan in 1958, Szeles began doing street comedy in San Francisco as in the early '80s, landing guest spots on TV including Thicke of the Night, Up All Night, and Late Night with David Letterman in the mid-1980s through the 2000s. After arriving in Las Vegas in 2001, Szeles became a top-selling headliner for several years at the Golden Nugget. He also continued with TV gigs, including Comedy Central stand-up specials, the CW's Masters of Illusion, The Weird Al Show, and the mid-2000s reality TV show Mindfreak with Criss Angel. He was also the subject Hulu's c2019 documentary The Amazing Johnathan Documentary.
Along with his wife, the Amazing Johnathan is survived by his sisters, Nancy Rogers and Gail McGuire; and his first wife, Sandra Bowing. Synn's assistant confirmed to TMZ that memorials for Szeles will be held in Las Vegas, Michigan, and Los Angeles, where they will hold the "Los Angeles Broken wand ceremony at the Magic Castle."