George Denis Patrick Carlin (May 12, 1937 – June 22, 2008) was an American stand-up comedian, social critic, actor and author, who won five Grammy Awards for his comedy albums. The first of his fourteen stand-up comedy specials for HBO was filmed in 1977. He often commented on contemporary political issues in the United States and satirized the excesses of American culture. His final HBO special, It’s Bad for Ya, was filmed less than four months before his death.
In 2004, Carlin placed second on the Comedy Central list of the 100 greatest stand-up comedians of all time, ahead of Lenny Bruce and behind Richard Pryor. He was a frequent performer and guest host on The Tonight Show during the three-decade Johnny Carson era, and hosted the first episode of Saturday Night Live. In 2008, he was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.
Carlin had a history of cardiac problems spanning several decades, including three heart attacks (in 1978, 1982 and 1991), an arrhythmia requiring an ablation procedure in 2003, and a significant episode of heart failure in late 2005. He twice underwent angioplasty to reopen narrowed arteries. In early 2005 he entered a drug rehabilitation facility for treatment of addictions to alcohol and Vicodin.
On June 22, 2008, Carlin was admitted to Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica after experiencing chest pain, and he died later that day of heart failure. He was 71 years old. His death occurred one week after his last performance at The Orleans Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. In accordance with his wishes, he was cremated, his ashes scattered, and no public or religious services of any kind were held. [Source: Wikipedia]