Stand-Up Comedian Ian Cognito Dies Onstage After Heart Attack

Stand-up comedian Ian Cognito died after suffer a heart attack on stage during a show in Bicester, England on Thursday.

The BBC reports that Cognito was performing at The Atic bar when he sat down during his set, which fans initially thought was part of his act. Witnesses say he "sat on a chair and laid back for five minutes" while the audience continued to laugh.

An ambulance was eventually called and staff asked the audience to leave while they performed chest compressions and waited for responders to arrive. Cognito was later pronounced dead at the scene.

Attendee John Ostojak said Cognito "did a really good set".

"Only 10 minutes before he sat down he joked about having a stroke," Ostojak said. "He said, 'imagine having a stroke and waking up speaking Welsh.'"

Cognito, real name Paul Barbieri, was born in London in the late '50s and began performing stand-up in the '80s. He won the Time Out Award for Stand-up Comedy in 1999 and was described as Britain's "most banned" comic by 2008.

After the news was reported, fans began sharing their condolences on Twitter.

"Such sad news about Ian Cognito," one fan wrote. "First comic me and my brother purposefully went to see in a club and he was just amazing. To get to enjoy his company in later life too was a privilege. Who's going to give comedy promoters and show managers panic attacks now? RIP pal."

Friends also shared memories of the late comedian.

"Such a sad shock. Ian Cognito has died," wrote author Shappi Khorsandi. "One of the people who made this job brilliant from the very beginning has gone. I got so excited to be on bills with him and watch him work and have a beer after. And those eyes! Those beautiful eyes. Much love to all friends and family xx."


Photo Credit: Twitter / @GleeClubBham