David Brenner, Comedy Legend, Dead at 78
David Brenner, Comedy Legend, Dead at 78 Reuters

American comedian, actor and author David Brenner, who is well known for his appearances on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, has passed away. He was 78.

Brenner who had been fighting cancer, succumbed to the disease at his home in New York City with his family at his side.

"Brenner died peacefully at his home in NYC surrounded by his family at his side," his longtime publicist Jeff Abraham told The Hollywood Reporter in a statement.

The Pennsylvania native shot to fame in 1971 after becoming a late-night TV favourite. He is believed to have appeared 158 times on Tonight Show, either hosting or doing stand-up acts. Adding on, Brenner wrote five books and also starred in 1989 romantic comedy Worth Winning.

Brenner is also known to inspire countless comedians during his lifetime.

"David Brenner was a huge star when I met him and he took me under his wing. To me, historically, he was the godfather of hip, observational comedy," comedian Richard Lewis said in a statement. "He mentored me from day one. ... His passing leaves a hole in my life that can never be replaced."

Brenner is survived by his third wife, former champion pairs skater Tai Babilonia, and his three children.

Celebrities took to social media to pay tribute to the comedian.

my friend David Brenner passed 2day he wasa great comic & a great guy hes in the great comedy club in the sky.R.I.P
Condolences 2his family😢

— Whoopi Goldberg (@WhoopiGoldberg) March 16, 2014

Rest in Peace. Stand-up comedy vet and #thetonightshow staple David Brenner dies following cancer battle: http://t.co/9LM79KXPEm /via @etnow

— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) March 15, 2014

RIP David Brenner. I adored him, and laughed more with him than anybody. Sad, sad, sad. Knowing David, he's now making the devil laugh.

— Joan Rivers (@Joan_Rivers) March 15, 2014

The great David Brenner with some of his fellow Aristocrats. We miss him. pic.twitter.com/tDPhBmt5G5

— Penn Jillette (@pennjillette) March 15, 2014

Just heard about David Brenner's passing. He was such a huge part of why so many of us became comics. This makes me very sad. RIP David.

— Paul Reiser (@PaulReiser) March 15, 2014

RIP David Brenner - a Carson fav of mine. Turned out my 1st late night interview '86 was on Nightlife w/David Brenner. Gracious & talented.

— Ralph Macchio (@ralphmacchio) March 15, 2014

RIP comic great David Brenner. Very sad to hear. He was super nice and super funny. He seemed ageless. Great writer. Big loss.

— Jon Lovitz (@realjonlovitz) March 16, 2014

This world can't afford to lose anyone funny. R.I.P. David Brenner.

— Albert Brooks (@AlbertBrooks) March 16, 2014

RIP David Brenner. Sad news. http://t.co/YBPIlJqPTi

— Drew Carey (@DrewFromTV) March 15, 2014