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April 20, 2014

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Robert Schimmel, L.V. stand-up performer, dies after car accident

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Comedian Robert Schimmel.

Robert Schimmel, who performed often in Las Vegas clubs and theaters and frequently referred to his recovery from cancer in his unvarnished stand-up act, died Friday night from injuries he suffered Thursday after a car accident near his home in Scottsdale, Ariz. He was a passenger in the vehicle with his 19-year-old daughter, Aliyah. He was 60.

Schimmel's publicist, Howard Bragman, confirmed to media outlets that Schimmel died Friday night in Phoenix. A colleague of Schimmel's, longtime Vegas comic and "Sin City Comedy" at V Theater proprietor John Padon, said Friday night that Schimmel's death was spreading quickly around stunned comics across the country. According to reports, Schimmel was a passenger in the car. The Schimmels swerved to avoid another car and rolled to the side of the freeway. Schimmel's daughter is in stable condition. Schimmel's 11-year-old son also was reportedly in the car but was released from a hospital the same day.

Schimmel was a frequent performer in Las Vegas, most recently appearing at the Riviera in January. He also performed at the Lance Burton Theater at the Monte Carlo and had appeared at the AVN Awards at the Palms.

Schimmel had long endured health problems. He suffered a heart attack in 1998 and in 2000 was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. He chronicled his battle with the disease in a 2008 memoir, "Cancer on Five Dollars a Day* (*chemo not included): How Humor Got Me Through the Toughest Journey of My Life." In his stand-up act, Schimmel joked about how doctors tossed his prosthetic testicle around the operating room before performing surgery to implant the device. "C'mon, doc! Gimme a break!" he said. "I'll do the jokes here!"

Earlier this year, Schimmel revealed that he had cirrhosis of the liver caused by a blood transfusion tainted with hepatitis C that he received while in the Air Force.

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