Chuy Bravo, who served as comedian Chelsea Handler's sidekick on her E! Network talk show Chelsea Lately, died suddenly on Saturday night. He was 63 years old. His death, first reported by Entertainment Tonight, comes just days after Handler celebrated his 63rd birthday with a touching post on Instagram.
Bravo's family told TMZ he was hospitalized Saturday in Mexico City, where he was visiting family. He had a terrible stomach ache and was rushed to an emergency room. On Sunday, doctors told his family he passed away. The cause of death is unclear.
"Happy Birthday to my OG Nugget [Bravo]," Handler wrote on Dec. 7, alongside a photo with the Mexican-American actor. "I love this picture because--not only does it look like Chuy just launched out of my peekachu, I look like a member of ZZ Top. Happy birthday Chuy, and thank you for 8 years of heavy petting."
Bravo was born Jesus Melgoza in Tangancicuaro, Michoacan, Mexico, in 1956. His family immigrated to the U.S. when he was 15 years old, and lived in the San Fernando Valley. He broke into acting in the early 1990s and soon found himself with roles in 2003's Tiptoes with Matthew McConaughey and 2005's The Honeymooners with Cedric the Entertainer. He also had an uncredited part in Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End in 2007.
In 2007, Bravo landed the biggest part of his career. He was enlisted as Handler's sidekick on Chelsea Lately, which ran until 2014. When the show launched, Handler told ET Bravo gave her someone to play off of, since she was more experienced being by herself on stage as a stand-up comedian.
"The worst part of doing the show is that I have to work five days a week, which I'm not accustomed to," Handler explained at the time. "I'm a stand-up comedian, so I usually would work twice a week and it's for like, an hour. The best part is that Chuy and I get to spend every day together. I love him!"
After the show wrapped, Bravo appeared in 2016's The Sex Trip and 2017's Buscando Nirvana.
In 2012, Bravo revealed to Latina that he survived prostate cancer and was a recovering alcoholic.
"I bet people don’t know that I’m a cancer survivor," the actor said at the time. "I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and was treated right away. Thank God I’m alive and well to this date. I’m also a recovering alcoholic and I was almost homeless at one point. I have been through a lot in my life, but I’ve overcome my struggles and now I’m finally living my life."
Bravo embraced the "Little Nugget" nickname Handler gave him, even using it as the name of his Little Nugget Foundation. Although no longer active, the foundation aimed to help alcoholics recovering in his hometown.
"I know all of the problems they are going through because I lived through them," he told Latina. "The government and the drug lords don’t help the situation either. Places like these need our help. I visit the foundation often and bring them food, clothes – whatever they need. I try to help in anyway that I can."
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