Celebrated stand-up comedian John Pinette was found dead today in his room at the Sheraton Station Square Hotel in Pittsburgh. He was 50. Pinette, who was famously overweight and who had suffered from liver and heart disease in recent years, died of natural causes, according to Allegheny County medical examiner’s office. The workhorse comedian was in the middle of touring, with no less than 18 live shows scheduled at the time of his death. Pinette’s next scheduled date was the Improv in Ontario, CA on April 10.
Pinette, a Boston native, routinely poked fun at himself in his comedy material, releasing albums and DVDs with titles like Show Me the Buffet, I’m Starvin!, Making Lite of Myself and Still Hungry. He was in the middle of working on another stand-up project at the time of his death. In addition to constantly touring, Pinette has appeared in film and television– everything from the Revenge of the Nerds franchise, The Punisher and, most notably on the Seinfeld series finale in 1998, where his character Howie got mugged.
In August of last year, Pinette reportedly checked into rehab for addiction to prescription pills. He underwent surgery earlier in the year and developed an addiction to prescribed pain pills, according to a press release circulated at the time. Pinette, eventually returned to the stage, however, constantly working on new material to the delight of his massive fanbase. “He should be celebrated for the amazing comedian he was,” his agent Nick Nuciforo said today in a statement after Pinette’s death was confirmed.