Dick Gregory has died at the age of 84.
The groundbreaking comedian and civil rights activist’s family said he passed away in Washington on Saturday.
His son Christian Gregory told The Associated Press his father died after being hospitalized for about a week. He had suffered a severe bacterial infection.
In a statement on Saturday night, Christian wrote: ‘It is with enormous sadness that the Gregory family confirms that their father, comedic legend and civil rights activist Mr Dick Gregory departed this earth tonight in Washington, DC.
‘The family appreciates the outpouring of support and love and respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time. More details will be released over the next few days.’
Gregory broke racial barriers in the 1960s and used his humor to spread messages of social justice and nutritional health.
He was one of the first black comedians to find mainstream success with white audiences in the early 1960s.
He rose from an impoverished childhood in St Louis to become a celebrated satirist who deftly commented upon racial divisions at the dawn of the civil rights movement.
Gregory ran for mayor of Chicago in 1967 and he ran for president in 1968 as the Peace and Freedom party candidate.
More to follow
Dick Gregory has died at the age of 84. He is pictured during a Tribute and Toast in 2015
The groundbreaking comedian and civil rights activist’s family said he died in Washington on Saturday