Jeni committed suicide, family says
EmptyRichard Jeni committed suicide after being diagnosed earlier this year with clinical depression and suffering bouts of psychotic paranoia, the family of the late comic said Tuesday.
"The family of Richard Jeni would like to put to rest any assumptions as to the cause of Richard's death. ... Richard Jeni did take his own life," the family said in a statement.
Jeni, 49, was found Saturday with a gunshot wound and later died at the hospital.
An autopsy was performed Monday, although the coroner said an official cause of death would not be announced for several weeks.
"Rumors have been circulating as to the cause of his death and have included speculation of Richard being depressed over the state of his career or a physical ailment," his family said. "Truth is: earlier this year Richard Jeni was diagnosed with severe clinical depression coupled with bouts of psychotic paranoia."
"He was not down or blue, he was ill," his family said, adding that Jeni was enjoying a successful year professionally. "Perhaps Richard's passing will encourage people to have sympathy, compassion and understanding for those who are afflicted with mental illness."
Jeni (whose real name was Richard John Colangelo) was a longtime regular on "The Tonight Show," in addition to doing standup.
He also created comedy specials for HBO and appeared in films "The Mask," "The Aristocrats," "National Lampoon's Dad's Week Off" and "Burn, Hollywood, Burn."