Richard Lewis’ cause of death revealed as ‘cardiopulmonary arrest’

Legendary comedian Richard Lewis’ official cause of death was revealed on Friday when his death certificate went public.

Lewis died Tuesday night at the age of 76 after reportedly suffering a heart attack amid his battle with Parkinson’s disease.

Three days later, a copy of his death certificate obtained by The Blast listed the cause of death as ‘cardiopulmonary arrest.’ 

Parkinson’s, which prompted Lewis to retire from stand-up after his diagnosis in April 2023, was noted as his secondary cause of death.

The news broke after Lewis’ widow shared her appreciation for his fans’ numerous ‘loving tributes’ in a social media post Thursday.

Legendary comedian Richard Lewis' official cause of death was revealed on Friday when his death certificate went public; pictured 2011

Lewis died Tuesday night at the age of 76 after reportedly suffering a heart attack amid his battle with Parkinson's disease

Joyce Lapinsky, who tied the knot with the stand-up star in 2005, shared a post via her late husband’s account on X (formerly Twitter).

It arrived just hours after the Curb Your Enthusiasm star was reported to have died at home from a heart attack at the age of 76.

‘This is Joyce, Richard’s wife. Thank you for your loving tributes,’ she wrote. ‘He would be beyond thrilled and so touched, as am I.’

Many of Lewis’ fans sought to make donations in his honor as tales of his kindness and positive impact on friends like Jamie Lee Curtis, so his widow shared a way that they could honor his life and work.

‘In response to the many queries , I know Richard would appreciate donations in his memory to the Los Angeles based charity or the charity of your choice,’ she added.

Comedy Gives Back is a registered charity that provides financial relief to struggling comedians, including payments to help cover insurance premiums and rent.

It also advertises that it helps comedians find and pay for mental health treatments, and it offers a service that provides an alternative to health insurance for uninsured low-income comedians.

Comedians also have access to addiction services, and the charity boats of offering weekly 12-step meetings in Los Angeles, as well as holding meetings and comedy festivals for comedians on the road.

Joyce Lapinsky (R), Lewis' widow, shared a message to his fans on his X account on Thursday following his death at 76 from a heart attack; seen in 2018 in LA

She thanked fans for 'loving tributes' and said Lewis 'would be beyond thrilled and so touched, as am I.' She urged fans to donate to Comedy Gives Back, a charity he supported

The organization held a place of importance for Lewis, who is currently listed as a member of its ‘talent board,’ along with Caroline Rhea and Howie Mandel.

Following Lapinsky’s post, the charity was flooded with donations listed in the lat comedian’s honor.

Lewis had been open over the years about his decades-long struggle with alcohol and drug addiction.

He cited 1994 as the year he finally got sober, after he was hospitalized as the result of a cocaine overdose.

That was also the year that his friend John Candy died of a heart attack at 43 after struggling with drug and alcohol abuse over the years.

Lewis was open about his decades-long struggle with drug and alcohol addiction. He got sober in 1994 after he was hospitalized due to a cocaine overdose; seen in 2015 in NYC

Lewis and Lapinsky were introduced in 1998 at a party for Ringo Starr, and they began dating soon after. The two got engaged in 2004; seen in 2018 in LA

Lewis had costarred with Candy in his final film, the Western comedy Wagons East, which needed a significant script rewrite and had to rely on a body double for scenes that were not filmed before Candy’s death during the production.

Although fans of Lewis’ sketch comedy or his dozens of appearances on Curb Your Enthusiasm were likely familiar with his jokes about his romantic life and his fear of intimacy, he was in a relationship with or married to Lapinsky for much of that time.

The future couple were introduced in 1998 when they both attended an album release party for Ringo Starr.

In a 2010 interview with Paul Freeman, Lewis revealed that a mutual friend had tried to set the two up years earlier when he was starring with Jamie Lee Curtis on the sitcom Anything But Love, but Lapinsky had turned them down because she thought he was ‘crazy’ at the time.

But after working on his addiction issues, she was more receptive during their 1998 meeting.

‘I guessed she was Italian and 33,’ Lewis recalled of their first significant meeting. ‘She said, “Let’s nip this in the bud. I’m 42. I’m a Jew from Minnesota. So if that bugs you… And if children are a major thing….” She was like reading my mind.’

It was a fortuitous meeting for Lewis, as he said hew as able to ‘commit to somebody finally.’ 

Lewis recalled his therapist shouting at him 'This is as good as it gets!' after he brought Lapinsky to his session to share his concerns about the relationship. They wed in 2005; seen in 2018 in LA

‘I met the right woman at the right time,’ he added.

The couple dated for several more years and only got engaged in 2004 after Lewis took Lapinsky to one of his therapy sessions, during which he said his therapist screamed ‘This is as good as it gets!’ after he shared some of his concerns about the relationship.

The lovebirds were married in 2005, and Lapinsky was with Lewis to the end.

Prior to his death, Lewis changed his home’s standard mortgage to an assignment of rents trust deed, which would make it easier for her to stay in their home without him, according to the New York Post.

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