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George Carlin, the Grammy-Award winning standup comedian and actor who was hailed for his irreverent social commentary, poignant observations of the absurdities of everyday life and language, and groundbreaking routines died in Los Angeles on Sunday, according to his publicist, Jeff Abraham. He was 71.
The cause of death was heart failure, according to Abraham.
During the course of his career, Carlin overcame numerous personal trials. His early arrests for obscenity (all of which were dismissed) and struggle to overcome his self-described "heavy drug use" were the most publicized. But in the '80s he also weathered serious tax problems, a heart attack and two open heart surgeries. His greatest setback was the loss of his wife, Brenda Hosbrook, who died in 1997. They had been married for 36 years. Carlin is survived by wife, Sally Wade; daughter Kelly Carlin McCall; son-in-law, Bob McCall; older brother, Patrick Carlin; sister-in-law, Marlene Carlin and long time manager, business partner and best friend Jerold Hamza.