Stand-up comedian Ralph O. “Ralphie” May, whose racially charged humor led to a cancellation of an event in Bemidji last year, has died of cardiac arrest.
The news was announced on May’s Twitter page. He was 45.
“We are heartbroken to announce the untimely death of our friend, Ralphie May. Ralphie had been battling pneumonia and had canceled a handful of dates over the last month in an effort to recover. Earlier this morning at a private residence in Las Vegas his body was discovered, cause of death is cardiac arrest,” the tweet said. “Two days ago he won the Casino Comedian of the Year at the Global Gaming Expo and had performances throughout the remainder of 2017 as part of his residency at Harrad’s Las Vegas.”
Last year, May was scheduled to perform at Bemidji’s Sanford Center in April before a 44-second audio clip surfaced on YouTube of him talking about American Indians. The clip is a profanity-laced string of stereotypes. May attacks Indians, calling them unemployed alcoholics in need of haircuts.
The shock comic had argued that the clip was taken out of context and was part of a longer riff against bigots — not their targets.
May had a show scheduled in Minneapolis on Nov. 11.
He is survived by his wife, Lahna Turner, daughter April June May and son August James May, according to the Twitter post.