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British comedian Rik Mayall passes away at the age of 56

Kristyn Burtt is an IAWTV award-winning host and entertainment reporter. She currently hosts the recap shows for "Dancing With the Stars" and "So You Think You Can Dance" on AfterBuzz TV and for "True Blood" on GeekNation.

The alternative comedy scenes loses an icon

Rik Mayall, the British comedian known for his roles on The Young Ones and The New Statesman, has died in London at the age of 56.

Comedy fans from around the world are mourning the passing of British comedian Rik Mayall today. According to the BBC, the 56-year-old actor died on Monday.

Mayall's management firm, Brunskill, announced, "We are deeply saddened to announce the death of Rik Mayall who passed away this morning. We will be issuing a further statement in the fullness of time."

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The funnyman leaves behind a wife and three children. He died at his home in London.

Mayall came to the public's attention in the 1980s as a part of the comedy group Comic Strip. Along with Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders and Adrian Edmondson, they set the standard in alternative comedy in the industry during that era.

However, Mayall was best known for his role on the British sitcom The Young Ones. He was also a writer on that show. He then went on to acclaim on The New Statesman as conservative politician Alan B'stard and as Lord Flashheart in the BBC comedy series Blackadder.

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U.S. audiences might remember his turn as the pesky imaginary friend in the 1991 film Drop Dead Fred, starring Phoebe Cates.

In 1998, Mayall was in a coma for several days after a serious quad bike accident. The experience changed his entire outlook on life.

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He told the BBC after his injury, "The main difference between now and before my accident is I'm just very glad to be alive. Other people get moody in their 40s and 50s — men get the male menopause. I missed the whole thing. I was just really happy."

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