Comedian was to star in one-man show in New York on Wednesday
Comedian Mike DeStefano, who made it to the last rounds of NBC's "Last Comic Standing," has died, his manager confirmed.
The HIV-positive comedian, who often joked about addiction and disease, died of a heart attack, his management company has confirmed.
His path to comedy including heroin addiction, recovery, and becoming an addiction counselor. He explained in his online biography that he volunteered to entertain the audience at a convention, while working as a counselor, and became a comedian because of the good response.
"We are indeed incredibly saddened by the loss of this amazing man," his manager, Mark Schulman, said in a statement. "He had touched the lives of many with his unique brand of comedy and was looking forward to sharing the same with so many more. Mostly, we will all miss his huge heart and incredibly loving and selfless passion for people."
DeStefano appeared on the the "Opie and Anthony Show," "Late Night with Conan O’Brien," "Comedy Central’s Live at Gotham" and at the HBO Aspen Comedy Festival and the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal. He placed fourth on the latest season of "Last Comic Standing."
The comedian also performed in stage shows, including one, "A Cherry Tree in the Bronx," that was to have had a special sneak preview performance at New York's Barrow Street Theater on Wednesday.
DeStefano was known for his brutal honesty and dark material. On his website, he explained, "I am a stand up comic. Before that, I was a drug counselor. Before that, I was a drug addict. Before that, I was 12!" The joke also helped him easily pass his "Last Comic Standing" audition.