He collapsed Wednesday night, hitting his head and causing a cerebral hemorrhage. He was rushed to Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck, New Jersey, U.S., where he suffered two strokes and comatose before expiring on Friday night.
From appearances in numerous television programs and films to starring roles in hot Latin musicals to performing his stand-up routine around the country, the "Funny Rican" from the Bronx known as Rich Ramirez was one of the hardest working comics in the business.
He had appeared on over twenty national and cable television comedy shows. Television credits include "Law and Order", "One Life to Live" and A&E's "American Humor: What's So Funny?" His film debut was in Punchline with multiple-Academy Award winners Tom Hanks and Sally Field. On the stage he co-hosted Latin Madness, the highly acclaimed Latin dance musical, for three years and also co-starred in the hit musical revue Latin Fever at the Tropicana Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
In terms of stand-up, he had performed at more than 175 colleges and opened for such recording artists as George Benson, Jon Secada, José Feliciano, and the Temptations and The Four Tops. Along with Chris Ryan and Herb Quiñones, he founded the SalSoul Comedy Troupe, which lasted twelve years. SalSoul allowed him to nurture his writing, producing and comedic acting skills.
He was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1995, which required the removal of 90% of his large intestine and a liver transplant. He then became an advocate for blood and organ donation. His ordeal became the basis of his self-penned solo show You Want A Piece of Me?, which he performed all over the country. To find out more about him, click here.
Rich Ramírez's charisma and his love of comedy helped him connect with any audience. He and his audience were able to share in a gift... the gift of laughter.