Brooklyn-based stand-up comedian Kenny DeForest died Wednesday, Dec. 13 , after sustaining head injuries in a biking accident last weekend, according to authorities.
The NYPD confirmed Friday that DeForest was riding an electric CitiBike at the intersection of Saint Marks Avenue and Rogers Avenue at around 8:30 a.m. on Dec. 8 when he struck an unoccupied parked car.
Responding officers from the 77th Precinct said they found DeForest conscious and alert with lacerations and swelling to the head. EMS paramedics removed him to NYC Health and Hospitals/Kings County in critical condition where he underwent neurological surgery to remove a piece of his skull to relieve pressure from a brain bleed.
The NYPD, who did not confirm the details surrounding the incident until Friday, Dec. 15, said that no criminality is suspected and the investigation is ongoing.
Friends of the 37-year-old comic, who set up an online fundraiser to cover DeForest’s medical bills, had initially stated that DeForest was struck by the driver of a car on Dec. 8.
So far the fundraiser has raised close to $180,000 from over 2,000 donations.
Organizer of the online appeal Ryan Beck announced Wednesday evening that DeForest died on Dec. 13 at Kings County Hospital surrounded by his parents, family, and friends
“Kenny’s final moments included some of his favorite songs, stories of his childhood, and memories of his extensive positivity and joy for life,” Beck wrote on the memorial fundraiser. “Kenny’s impactful life will continue on through the gift of organ donation. Even in death he will continue to make meaningful improvements in the lives of others.”
The Missouri native is best known for his work in the New York comedy circuit and his appearances on Comedy Central, Late Night with Seth Meyers, The Late Late Show with James Corden and HBO’s “Crashing”.
In August, he released his second comedy special “Don’t You Know Who I Am?” on his YouTube Channel.
Friends, and fellow comics began paying tribute to DeForest after news of his death started to spread on social media.
“Aside from being funny Kenny DeForest was a voice in my head telling me to appreciate how lucky we are to be alive. When I’d get down there would be a voice saying “Kenny DeForest says to celebrate life” and I’d see his smile,” co-host of the ‘Out for Smoke’ podcast, Sean McCarthy, wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “I’m glad I met him and I’ll miss him a lot.”
Comedian James Fritz paid tribute to his friendship with DeForest, posting: “What I’d give for one more car ride together taking turns playing songs for each other, me making fun of him for being a little too hippy and young and him making fun of me for being a little too bitter and old. Just look at that smile. I’ll never forget you Kenny Deforest.
“Kenny DeForest was always down to clown. A bright light. You’ll be missed,” comedian Atsuko Okatsuka posted on X.
Update: This story was updated Friday, Dec. 15 to reflect updated information from the NYPD about DeForest’s accident.