Bernie Mac Dies at 50

Actor/comedian Bernie Mac has died from complications of pneumonia, his publicist told The Associated Press on Saturday. He was 50 years old.

Mac, whose real name was Bernard Jeffrey McCullough, “passed away this morning from complications due to pneumonia in a Chicago area hospital,” said his publicist, Danica Smith, in a statement. “No other details are available at this time. We ask that his family’s privacy continues to be respected.”

Movie and television studio Fox, with which Mac had a working relationship throughout his career, issued the following statement on Saturday afternoon: “Bernie Mac was a gifted talent whose comedy came from an authentic and highly personal place. He was a tremendous live performer and a wonderful actor. FOX was proud to be the home of The Bernie Mac Show, and all of us at FOX and 20th Century Fox Television extend our deepest sympathies to his wife Rhonda and daughter JeNiece.”

The sad news came after a roller-coaster week of reports both grim and optimistic.

On Monday, amid rumors that Mac had passed away, Smith had this to say regarding his condition: “Bernie Mac is still alive and being treated in a Chicago hospital for pneumonia and is expected to make a full recovery. (He is) responding well to treatment and will be released soon.”

And just Thursday, Smith said that the beloved “King of Comedy” was “stable,” responding well to treatment and expected to make a full recovery.

Mac, a Chicago native, was a longtime sufferer of the immune-system disorder sarcoidosis, which Smith said on Monday had been in remission since 2005 and was unrelated to his hospitalization.

The Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated actor had film and TV projects in various stages of production, including 2009’s Old Dogs with John Travolta and Robin Williams.

Two of Mac’s films will be released in November: the highly anticipated Madagascar sequel and Soul Men, a comedy starring Samuel L. Jackson.