Michael Clarke Duncan, an Oscar nominee for “The Green Mile” died Monday at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was 54.
Publicist Joy Fehily released a statement from Clarke’s fiancée, the Rev. Omarosa Manigault, saying that Duncan died Monday morning after nearly two months of hospitalization following a July 13 heart attack.
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Duncan, who was nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actor and a Golden Globe for his portrayal of death-row inmate John Coffey in 1999's "The Green Mile," most recently starred as Leo Knox in the Fox series "The Finder." He also appeared in the film hits "Armageddon," "The Whole Nine Yards," "Planet of the Apes" and "Kung Fu Panda."
The 6-foot-4, 315-pound Duncan "suffered a myocardial infarction on July 13 and never fully recovered," the statement said.
Duncan was born in 1957 and grew up on the south side of Chicago in a single-parent household with his sister, Judy, and mother, Jean Duncan. He attended Alcorn State University, but left early to support his family when his mother became ill.
Duncan worked as ditch digger and nightclub bouncer after his college years and moved to Los Angeles to launch an acting career in 1995.He became a bodyguard for actors Will Smith and Martin Lawrence and began to draw attention after appearing in 1998's "Armageddon."
Comedian Steve Harvey was among those offering condolences on Twitter. "I will miss my friend, Michael Clarke Duncan. What an incredible soldier in God's Plan," he tweeted.
"Rest in Peace to my brother who paved the way for me and many Black actors," tweeted actor Terry Crews. "Honored to have known him and called him a friend to me and my family."
Clarke served as a spokesman for a number of causes. Earlier this year, he appeared in a video for PETA, the animal rights organization, in which he spoke of how much better he felt since becoming a vegetarian three years earlier.
Duncan also starred in a public service announcement for the American Stroke Association to raise awareness of strokes.