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Mitch Hedberg (1968–2005)

Mitch Hedberg, a Minnesota-born comedian who worked in nightclubs, television, and film in a wide-ranging career, died in Livingston, N.J., his family said. He was 37.

Hedberg, who struggled with drugs and alcohol, died March 30 in a hotel room. Pending the medical examiner's report, the cause of death appears to be heart failure, said his mother, Mary Hedberg. She said her son was born with a heart defect and frequently felt anxious about his condition.

Born in St. Paul, he rose through the ranks at Minneapolis' Acme Comedy Co. and caught his big break through a Comedy Central special. A hit on The Late Show With David Letterman, on which he appeared 10 times, and The Howard Stern Show, Hedberg once was dubbed "the next Seinfeld" by Time magazine. But TV-series fame eluded him because his unique style of mumbled one-liners didn't lend itself to the sitcom format. He delivered absurdist, random observations in a spacy staccato. His style often drew comparisons to Steven Wright, but Hedberg disagreed. "If I made potato chips and put them in a can, people would say I was ripping off Pringles," he said. "But what if I put them in a bag?" He had two popular comedy CDs: Strategic Grill Locations and Mitch All Together. He appeared in the movie Almost Famous—smoking fake pot with Peter Frampton—and appeared on Fox's hit series That '70s Show.

–Associated Press

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