May was unable to travel, so had to move in with in-laws in Sarasota, the report added. He cited illness as the reason for the cancellations, says Rolling Stone, and his official cause of death was cardiac arrest that came after a long battle with pneumonia. The couple had two children: a daughter born in September 2007[12][13] and a son born in June 2009. He was 17 when he won a contest that had a terrifying prize — opening for Sam Kinison. "Paul didn't. When May was 16-years-old, he was in a car accident that left him with 42 broken bones and put him in a coma for 10 days. May entered rehab and discovered he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from multiple events — his parents’ divorce, a brutal car accident and bullying from other comedians. After a bout with viral pneumonia on a cruise in October 2011, May lost 40 pounds. [11], On July 3, 2005, May married comedian Lahna Turner. He shared the story with Bent in 2015, at a time he was touring in a bus that would make anyone jealous. I'd love to come up there for graduation and shake everybody's hands, wish them luck, tell them to follow their dreams, say you can do anything, no matter where you come from.". [17], May discussed his grandmother in a number of interviews and credited her with helping take care of him and his siblings as they were growing up. ... That's man stuff — that's when I stopped being a boy and started being a man, when I put that bullying stuff down and stuck up for somebody.". “I think there’s a bias against fat people on network television,” May told the Houston Chronicle (via the Sun Sentinel) around the time of his surgery. "Ralphie was hospitalized with pulmonary embolisms," she wrote. May attended Clarksville High School, but he told the Arkansas Times he was kicked out in 1990. "I punched some ex-friends of mine in the face, people who deserved to be," May said. He later moved to Texas to pursue his comedy career. It worked for Kinison and May had no reason to think he was getting anything but actual advice, so he did it. As May explained to the Sacramento Press, he felt it his duty to give back to fans who would dish out their hard-earned money to see him perform. She was really beneficial, she kept us in a stature way above our means and made sure we were taken care of as far as clean clothes and shoes." Groups like the Cheyenne River Youth Project and representatives of the Oglala Sioux accused him of racism and bullying, and while he apologized — technically — it was a backhanded sort of apology. "People are only offended when it's about their group," he said. He was — unsurprisingly — known for pranks, but stealing the principal's car was one step too far. “My average fan works for about $20 per hour, if they are lucky enough to have a job,” he said, “and then factoring in insurance, taxes and such, they’re maybe bringing home $15 per hour. [9] He appeared in For Da Love of Money. Ralphie May’s weight contributed to other illnesses. He also said no one would have been surprised if he'd died. No one would ever accuse May of being too politically correct. To put that in perspective, the Sun Sentinel says at one point, he tagged the scales for 800 pounds. Before the show, Kinison had given him some advice in case this happened: swear and yell. I don't think bullying is cool, I don't think that's f**king funny," he said. "And I wanted to take the sting away from the words.". Afterwards, May appeared in comedy shows, such as The Wayne Brady Show and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. May underwent gastric bypass surgery in late 2003 and was able to drop down to 350 pounds, the Sun Sentinel noted, but his weight loss stalled from there. Part of the reason he never found it funny is that he used to be a bully himself, and that only changed after he was in the devastating car accident. I smacked them and said, 'Nobody messes with this guy anymore.' His weight increased to 800 pounds (360 kg), following a car accident at age 16. "I was afraid I was gonna die in my sleep," he said. "The doctors saved his life by seconds. In 2005, he appeared on the VH1 reality show Celebrity Fit Club, where he was able to lose another 27 pounds. At the time, he already knew he wanted to spend his life doing stand-up, so when he was suddenly faced with a choice, he said "it was a no-brainer." [21][22], On October 6, 2017, May went into cardiac arrest. Despite the struggles with weight, Ralphie May was known for his prolific touring and shows that could be exhaustive. She'd sue him for not paying child support, then he didn't pay, and that ended up costing us a lot..."[19], In 2013, May and his wife Turner started a podcast together called Perfect 10. While he was recovering, a boy from his church would travel 60 miles three days a week just to visit him in the hospital and help him keep up with the schoolwork he was missing. They couldn't prove it was him, he said, but when word got out they were going to kick a whole group out of school, May stepped up and took all the blame. "It just really threw me.". He's also said there's nothing personal and no hate behind the jokes, noting that intent makes a big difference. My mom was a florist. May and his wife, Lahna Turner, filed for divorce in 2015. The 45-year-old comedian died this week after reportedly suffering cardiac arrest, shining a light on his short and often troubled life. After his death this week, the focus has not only been on Ralphie May’s weight but his prominence in the world of comedy. ", She didn't go into specifics, but when she talked to SplitSider she did say that when she got served with divorce papers after 17 years together, she hadn't seen it coming. "When I was a kid, my grandmother taught me how to crochet and how to quilt, and that's kind of how I do an act. It was a similar story to a lot of people in Arkansas. "If you get offended, then take your f**king lump like everyone else and wait for the next joke." He was 45 years old. He also questioned how he was treated by the Grand Junction Police Department as he was escorted away, saying they claimed they'd gotten reports of some kind of powder being seen, so they searched May, his bus, and his car. In 2011, he suffered a serious health scare after contracting pneumonia, noted. [4] Kinison suggested that May move to Houston to further develop his comedy routine. His goal weight was always 200 pounds, but he'd only make it down to around 350. He had gastric bypass surgery, had his stomach stapled, and even spent two months on VH1's Celebrity Fit Club. He shared, "It was a hard life growing up. A number of fellow comedians have spoken out to offer their condolences and remember May as a loyal friend and influential comedian. [14][13] The couple filed for divorce in October 2015 and sought joint custody of their children, but the divorce was never finalized. "I got booed by 3,200 people, I started crying a little bit, I ran off stage and then one of the biggest names in stand-up comedy comes running out and tells me I'll never be in stand-up comedy again," May said. And it's a different life than most people have led. Ralph Duren May[1] (February 17, 1972 – October 6, 2017) was an American stand-up comedian and actor, known for his extensive touring and comedy specials on Netflix and other outlets. When he spoke with the Tampa Bay Times that December, he said he was grateful that if it was going to happen, it happened there. A report from the Sun Sentinel noted that Ralphie May once weighed 800 pounds, but the start of his struggles with weight came through some tragic circumstances. I have one-liners, I have dirty jokes, but I also have long stories that are 10 or 20 minutes long and the laughs come every eight seconds. In 2011, May faced some major health scares. After a few years of healthy gains, he recalled sliding back into a dark place in 2014 when his long-time dog Pimp died. May was on a tropical cruise at the time, and when the boat docked in Tampa he was rushed to a hospital where he spent nine days recuperating. I just wanted to do stand-up. At the age of 16, he was involved in a ", Once May hit it big, he was actually invited back to give the keynote speech at graduation. "It's like, come on, guys, I'm not that little white trash kid you had to be ashamed of. By making people laugh at these words, he said he wanted to take away their power to hurt. When May performed on Last Comic Standing, he was a relatively svelte 450 pounds. "I never would have left him, but that happened," she said. In April 2017, May talked to Show Tickets about his No Apologies show in Las Vegas and explained just why there were no apologies for his racial remarks.

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