Dick Gregory, Civil Rights Activist and Comedian, Dies at 84

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Comedian and civil rights activist Dick Gregory, who broke barriers in the 1960s and became one of the first African-Americans to perform comedy at white clubs, died Saturday.

He was 84.

Dick Gregory attends the Roger Ebert Memorial Tribute at Chicago Theatre on April 11, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. (Credit: Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images)

Dick Gregory recently rescheduled an event in Atlanta because he was hospitalized. He died in Washington, his son posted on social media without giving details.

“The family appreciates the outpouring of support and love, and respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time,” Christian Gregory said. “More details will be released over the next few days.”

Gregory satirized segregation and racial injustice in his acts, and was arrested several times in the 1960s for joining civil rights rallies.

Fellow civil rights activist Rev. Jesse Jackson paid tribute to Gregory.

“He taught us how to laugh. He taught us how to fight. He taught us how to live,” he tweeted. “Dick Gregory was committed to justice. I miss him already.”

Gregory was also a health and spiritual advocate, a motivational speaker and an author.

In a message to fans posted on his Instagram account after he rescheduled the event in Atlanta, Gregory talked about the political climate in the US.

“I’ve so much to say and can’t wait to get out of here and say it,” he wrote Wednesday.

Fellow comedians paid tribute to Gregory after news of his passing.

“Heaven just got funnier,” DL Hughley tweeted.

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