Wednesday, June 25, 2008

George Carlin's Loved Ones Speak Out

George Carlin's Loved Ones Speak Out
Copyright 2008 Neilson Barnard / Getty Images

A sad loss ...

ET breaks the news that comedian George Carlin has died from heart failure. The man who made famous the "seven words you can never say on television" passed away at 5:55 p.m. Sunday at Saint John's Hospital in Santa Monica, his longtime publicist said. He was 71.

Monday morning, his daughter Kelly Carlin McCall had the following to say about her dad: "Most people know George Carlin as an icon of comedy and an advocate of free speech. I just know him as Dad ... And what a dad he was. He taught me the value of speaking the truth in a world that doesn't always want to hear it and gave me the gift of laughter. He was loved and revered by so many and will be missed beyond words -- but never forgotten. Our family wishes to thank everyone who has sent love and support our way. Your kind words and thoughts are bringing much comfort to us during such a difficult time."

His wife, Sally Wade, also spoke out about the loss of her "soul mate." "George Carlin was and always will be the greatest love of my life. We had meeting of the minds, heart and spirit. It was a big love. He was my soul mate and always will be. Tomorrow is our tenth anniversary, and it was the best ten years of my life. It's quite a shock right now, but I wish to express my sincere thanks and prayers to all who have reached out during this very difficult time. It is deeply appreciated."

Carlin, who has had several heart attacks and a history of cardiac issues, went into the hospital Sunday afternoon after complaining of heart problems.

HBO, which submitted the funny man's last special, "It's Bad for Ya" for Emmy consideration this year, issued the following statement: "Because HBO has had such a long and close relationship with George Carlin, his passing is like losing one of our own. George had been a part of HBO almost since its beginning, performing his first concert for us in 1977, and his 14th special just earlier this year. No performer was more important to helping our network define itself in its early years. And no performer was more committed to the ideal of freedom of speech, a principle he embodied for the 50 years he performed with his trademark wit. We will miss his humor and his righteous comic anger, and we will simply miss him."

Carlin has more than 20 comedy albums, 14 HBO specials, numerous TV and movie roles, and three best-selling books to his credit. Last year, he celebrated his 50th year in show business.

He is survived by his wife, Sally Wade; daughter, Kelly Carlin McCall; and older brother, Patrick Carlin.

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