Page last updated at 09:13 GMT, Sunday, 10 August 2008 10:13 UK

Stars pay tribute to Bernie Mac

Bernie Mac
Mac's films included Charlie's Angels and Transformers

George Clooney has led tributes to US comedian Bernie Mac, who died in hospital on Saturday, aged 50.

"The world just got a little less funny," said the star, who appeared with Mac in the Ocean's Eleven series.

"This is a very sad day for many of us who knew and loved Bernie," added Don Cheadle, another Ocean's co-star, "but heaven just got funnier."

Mac, who starred in his own TV show as well as a number of Hollywood films, died of complications from pneumonia.

The Chicago-born comedian, whose real name was Bernard Jeffrey McCullough, was admitted to hospital on 1 August.

But his death surprised many, as he had reportedly been responding well to treatment.

Comedian Carl Reiner said he was "in utter shock" because he thought his friend's condition had been improving.

"He was just so alive. I can't believe he's gone," he added.

Bernie Mac
The comedian spent years as a stand-up before breaking into Hollywood
"I feel blessed to have shared years of friendship with Bernie Mac," said Samuel L Jackson, who recently completed filming musical comedy Soul Men with the star.

"My sincere prayer is that his family will be comforted by the warmth of love from all of us who knew and respected this man."

Mac's larger-than-life comedy persona was informed by his impoverished childhood in Chicago and honed by years on the stand-up circuit.

He made his first film appearance in the Damon Wayans movie Mo' Money in 1992, but achieved mainstream success as part of the Kings of Comedy tour and TV special in 1997.

A recurring role in sitcom Moesha led to his own eponymous TV show, which picked up several Emmy and Golden Globe nominations - and won the comedian a Peabody Award for excellence in television.

Married for more than 30 years, Mac largely eschewed Hollywood, choosing to live in Chicago.

He is survived by his wife, Rhonda, a daughter and a granddaughter.

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