On Air Now
Smooth Breakfast with Jenni Falconer 6am - 10am
12 April 2019, 14:49 | Updated: 12 April 2019, 16:36
Stand-up comedian Ian Cognito has passed away, after having a heart attack on stage during a performance in Bicester.
The comic reportedly "sat on a chair and laid back for five minutes" during his show at the The Atic bar in Bicester on Thursday (April 11), reports BBC News.
Audience members said they thought his silence was "part of the act" and had continued to laugh, not realising he had fallen ill.
South Central Ambulance Service later confirmed that Cognito was pronounced dead at the scene.
Audience member John Ostojak said the comedian "did a really good set".
"Only 10 minutes before he sat down he joked about having a stroke. He said, 'imagine having a stroke and waking up speaking Welsh'."
When Cognito sat down towards the end of his set, Ostojak said: "We thought it was part of the act. We came out feeling really sick, we just sat there for five minutes watching him, laughing at him."
Veteran stand-up comedian Ian Cognito has died on-stage - literally. The audience thought it was part of the act. Died with his boots on. That’s commitment to comedy. I’ll never forget his kindness when I started out & how god damn funny he was.— Jimmy Carr (@jimmycarr) April 12, 2019
The show's compere later arrived on stage, and asked someone to call an ambulance. Staff tried to perform chest compressions and asked the audience to leave.
Other comics have paid tribute to the performer, who had been working since the mid-1980s.
Jimmy Carr said: "I'll never forget his kindness when I started out and how god damn funny he was." Rufus Hound added that "we have lost one of the greats".