Comedian Kenny DeForest has died at age 37 following a bicycle accident.
DeForest’s friend Ryan Beck announced the news via a GoFundMe page, writing, “Kenny DeForest is and was a truly positive influence on all the lives he touched. Kenny died on Wednesday December 13th at Kings County Hospital surrounded by his parents, family, and friends. Kenny’s final moments included some of his favorite songs, stories of his childhood, and memories of his extensive positivity and joy for life.”
The stand-up comedian was in an e-bike accident on Friday, December 8, which required neurological surgery to “remove a piece of his skull” and relieve pressure from a brain bleed. The fundraiser was started as a way to help DeForest’s family cover the cost of his medical bills, with supporters already surpassing the $150,000 goal.
“Kenny’s impactful life will continue on through the gift of organ donation. Even in death he will continue to make meaningful improvements in the lives of others,” Beck concluded in his emotional statement.
DeForest’s family and friends initially believed the accident was a result of a collision involving his bike and a car, according to Deadline. However, the EMS report and discussions with a nearby crossing guard made DeForest’s loved ones believe he was riding an e-bike and crashed near Prospect Park in Brooklyn, New York.
An EMS report was filed, but the police were not called to the scene.
“We’ve learned more information today from an EMS report. Kenny was on an e-bike and crashed. I spoke with crossing guards at the area today, and am still in search of more information,” Beck told Deadline on Friday, December 15. “There is no police report because it was not a hit-and-run as first understood.”
DeForest rose to fame as a comedian and writer with appearances on shows including The Late Late Show With James Corden and Late Night With Seth Meyers. In 2015, DeForest was part of Comedy Central’s Comics to Watch and was named one of the 50 Funniest People in Brooklyn by Brooklyn Magazine one year later.
Before his death, DeForest released a debut stand-up album titled B.A.D. Dreams with Comedy Dynamics. He was also featured in TruTV’s Friends of the People and HBO’s Crashing.
The official social media account for Late Night With Seth Meyers released a tribute for DeForest on Thursday, December 14. “Kenny DeForest was a universally beloved comedian who died tragically, and much too young,” read the statement. “His relaxed, confident delivery always stood out. As you can see from his debut late night set on LNSM, he wasn’t afraid to tackle controversial topics, but never just to be edgy — always in service of an original angle and a great joke. It’s a shame we won’t get to see what he comes up with next.”