Dick Gregory has passed away at the age of 84, his family has announced.
The comic legend and civil rights activist died at hospital in Washington DC after being admitted with an undisclosed illness.
His family shared the news of their “enormous sadness” in a post on social media on August 19.
From the 1960s, Dick Gregory mocked racism in his stand-up routines. He was among the first American black comedian to perform regularly in front of white audiences.
His son, Christian, wrote on Instagram: “It is with enormous sadness that the Gregory family confirms that their father, comedic legend and civil rights activist Mr. Dick Gregory departed this earth tonight in Washington, DC.”
He added that the family “appreciates the outpouring of support and love” but requested that their privacy be respected “during this very difficult time”.
Civil rights activist Rev Jesse Jackson paid tribute to Dick Gregory on Twitter, saying: “He taught us how to laugh. He taught us how to fight. He taught us how to live. Dick Gregory was committed to justice. I miss him already. #RIP”
Dick Gregory was a no-holds-barred comedian, delivering lines in his performances that were likely to raise eyebrows.
He once said: “A Southern liberal? That’s a guy that’ll lynch you from a low tree.”
“Segregation is not all bad,” Dick Gregory said on another occasion.
“Have you ever heard of a collision where the people in the back of the bus got hurt?”
Dick Gregory was also involved in a number of civil rights activities in the 1960s. He campaigned against the Vietnam War and his protests often involved hunger strikes.