British comedian Ian Cognito, a veteran of the stand-up scene, died on stage during a performance in Bicester, England on Thursday, it was reported.
Cognito, 60, was performing his stand-up set on stage when he sat down on a stool, breathing heavily. The audience at the Lonely Wolf Comedy Club, unaware that this was not part of his act, watched the comedian for at least five minutes, believing it was all part of the show, Compere Andrew Bird, the owner of the bar, told the BBC.
Bird told the outlet that Cognito wasn't feeling well before the set, but that the comedian decided to go on and perform anyway.
"He was like his old self, his voice was loud. I was thinking 'he's having such a good gig'," Bird said.
Cognito even joked about dying in front of the audience just moments before his death. So when he collapsed in front of the crowd, everyone in the crowd believed Cognito was joking.
Bird eventually went on stage to check on the comedian when it became clear the comedian was not performing. An off-duty police officer and two nurses who happened to be at the club began performing CPR on the comedian while an ambulance was called.
The comedian was pronounced dead at the scene.
Dozens of comedians, including the legendary Jimmy Carr, eulogized Cognito on Twitter.