Comedian and actor Bernie Mac has died at 50 of pneumonia after a week’s hospitalization in Chicago, the Chicago Tribune reports. Mac suffered from sarcoidosis, an unusual autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the lungs. Born Bernard Jeffrey McCullough, the comedian was a late bloomer, achieving fame in his 30s for his fast-talking, brash brand of humor on HBO specials, in films, and eventually in his own TV show.
Mac began doing standup before age 10. Winning a comedy search when he was 32, he appeared on shows like HBO’s Def Comedy Jam and his own comedy specials. He later scored a breakthrough part in the film Friday; many more roles were to come. The family-based sitcom The Bernie Mac Show ran from 2001 to 2005. “You've got to make people respect you. Respect is bigger than dollars and cents,” he said.