"Imagine if I died in front of you lot here," veteran comic Ian Cognito told the crowd during a set Thursday in the English town of Bicester. A few minutes later, the 60-year-old did, in fact, die in front of the crowd, reports the BBC. For a few minutes, everybody thought it was part of the act and laughed along when Cognito sat down on a stool and went silent. After all, he had just joked about what it would be like to have a stroke and wake up speaking Welsh. But eventually, the emcee at the Atic bar went onstage and realized something was seriously wrong.
"Everyone in the crowd, me included, thought he was joking," said the emcee, Andrew Bird. He said Cognito had not been feeling well but decided to go on anyway. "He was like his old self, his voice was loud," said Bird. "I was thinking, 'He's having such a good gig.'" A paramedic who happened to be in the audience began performing CPR, but Cognito was pronounced dead at the scene when an ambulance arrived, reports CNN. "Died with his boots on," tweeted fellow comic Jimmy Carr, adding, "I'll never forget his kindness when I started out." (Read more stand-up comedy stories.)