Veteran stand-up comedian Ian Cognito has died on-stage during a performance.
The comic is said to have “sat on a chair and laid back for five minutes” during his show at the The Atic bar in Bicester on Thursday.
Those present did not realise anything was wrong at first, thinking it was part of the routine, an audience member told the BBC.
South Central Ambulance Service confirmed Cognito was pronounced dead at the scene.
According to the audience member, staff attempted chest compressions and asked people to leave the Lone Wolf Comedy Club while they waited for help to arrive.
He said the crowd “thought Cognito was going to do something as part of the act, but after a while nothing happened”.
‘One of the greats’
Fellow comedians have paid tribute to Cognito, who had been performing since the mid-1980s.
Rufus Hound paid tribute on Twitter, writing: “we have lost one of the greats”.
Shappi Khorsandi said it was “such a sad shock”, and Cognito was “one of the people who made this job brilliant”.
Mitch Benn, known for his appearances on The Now Show, said he had known Cognito for 25 years and when he saw him last month he “looked better than I’d seen him in years”.
Cognito won the Time Out Award for stand-up comedy in 1999.