Original story (June 9, 2014): British comedian Richard Michael "Rik" Mayall — best known stateside for the cult comedy Drop Dead Fred — passed away today, June 9, at his home in England at age 56.
TMZ reports Rik’s family was home with him at the time and is "puzzled" about the cause of death. Per the site, Rik wasn't ill and foul play is not suspected.
In Fred, Rik played the titular character, a mischievous imaginary friend brought to life by sad-sack Lizzie (Phoebe Cates). The 1991 film, which also starred Marsha Mason, Carrie Fisher, and Bridget Fonda, was a critical disaster but a financial success.
The film was Rik's only hit in the United States, but he was a major success in the United Kingdom, appearing in the sitcoms Blackadder, The Young Ones, The New Statesman, and Bottom.
He played the poltergeist Peeves in since-deleted scenes for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.
Rik had a near-fatal ATV accident in 1998, suffering a fractured skull and two haematomas. He was placed in a medically-induced coma and made a full recovery — even joking about the accident in various comedy bits.
He is survived by his wife, Barbara, and their three adult children. Our thoughts are with them at this time.
Update (June 12, 2014): Rik Mayall died of a heart attack after his routine morning run, as revealed by a statement released by his wife, Barbara, per TMZ. "We always knew that Rik was well-loved, but we are all overwhelmed by so many joining us in our grief," she wrote. "I am sure that you all know Rik's response would be something along the lines of, 'Well, thanks very much, all of you. Now f—k off!'"
Source: TMZ, TMZ