British comedian Ian Cognito died while performing his stand-up show on Thursday in Bicester, England, Fox News has learned. He was 60.
Compere Andrew Bird, the owner of the venue Lonely Wolf Comedy Club, where Cognito, whose real name is Paul Barbieri, was performing confirmed his death to Fox News on Friday.
According to the BBC, which was first to report the news, the comedian collapsed during his performance and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Bird told the outlet Cognito wasn't feeling well before his gig but decided to perform anyway. "He was like his old self, his voice was loud. I was thinking 'he's having such a good gig'," Bird recounted.
Cognito reportedly even joked about dying in front of the audience, so when he collapsed people thought it was part of his act. "Everyone in the crowd, me included, thought he was joking," Bird said.
Bird went onstage to check on Cognito and when it was apparent the comic wasn't faking it, two off-duty nurses and a police officer began CPR and an ambulance was called, per the BBC.
An audience member, John Ostojak, said it was only "10 minutes before he sat down he joked about having a stroke."
Fellow comedians have taken to Twitter to pay tribute to Cognito. "8 Out of 10 Cats" star Jimmy Carr wrote, "I'll never forget his kindness when I started out & how god damn funny he was."
Fellow comedian and actor Jack Whitehall also shared his thoughts on Twitter.