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Comedian and actor Bernie Mac dies at 50

CHICAGO - Comedian and actor Bernie Mac, who had been hospitalized for pneumonia, died on Saturday at a Chicago area hospital, his spokeswoman said.

Publicist Danica Smith confirmed the death in a statement but gave no further details. "We ask that his family's privacy continues to be respected," she said.

Mac, 50, was reported to have been in stable condition on Thursday and his release from the hospital was expected in weeks. Smith had said Mac's bout with pneumonia was unrelated to his previous diagnosis of a chronic tissue inflammation, called sarcoidosis, which has been in remission since 2005.

Mac was best known for his roles in the "Ocean's Eleven" trilogy and other films, including "Guess Who" and "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle."

His U.S. television sitcom "The Bernie Mac Show," which ran for five seasons until 2006 on the Fox network, earned Mac two Emmy and two Golden Globe nominations.

Mac first achieved national prominence after joining the Kings of Comedy stand-up tour in 1997 with Steve Harvey, D.L. Hughley and Cedric the Entertainer, tapping into an underserved market for middle-class blacks.

Reporting by Reuters

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