David A. Arnold, an actor, writer, showrunner, and veteran stand-up comedian known for his takes on family life, died Wednesday, Sept. 7. He was 54.
Arnold’s family confirmed his death in a statement to the Los Angeles Times, saying he passed away from natural causes.
“It is with great sadness that we confirm the untimely passing of our husband, father, brother and friend, David A. Arnold,” the comic’s family said. “David passed away peacefully today in his home and doctors have ruled the cause of death due to natural causes. Please keep our family in prayer and respect our privacy at this time as we are all shocked and devastated by this loss.”
His family did not give a specific cause of death.
Arnold served as a writer and producer on Netflix’s Fuller House reboot. He created the Nickelodeon series That Girl Lay Lay, and was a producer on Bigger on BET+.
He performed stand-up comedy for 20 years and described himself on his personal website as “the best-kept secret in comedy.”
Arnold was born in Ohio and began performing in 1997, with early high-profile gigs at the Canadian Montreal Comedy Festival and on Comedy Central’s Jamie Foxx Presents Laffapalooza with Jamie Foxx and Cedric the Entertainer. He also had gigs on Comics Unleashed with Byron Allen, BET’s ComicView, HBO’s Def Comedy Jam, and acting roles on Meet the Browns and Entourage.
The comedian currently has two specials streaming on Netflix — David A. Arnold: It Ain’t for the Weak and David A. Arnold: Fat Ballerina.
At the time of his death, he was on a national comedy tour with stops scheduled through March.
Arnold is survived by wife Julie L. Harkness and daughters Anna-Grace and Ashlyn.
As news of his death spread, tributes poured in from his friends and colleagues on social media.
“Your realness. Your unbridled joy. Your love for your girls. Your deep soul. Your unapologetic candor. Your comedic genius. Your inextinguishable light… My heart hurts. I will miss you my brother,” Boris Kodjoe captioned a picture of Arnold on Twitter.
“We are shocked and incredibly saddened by the sudden passing of our dear friend and creative partner, David A. Arnold,” read a post on the official Nickelodeon Twitter account.
“We will miss David A. Arnold: a beloved stand-up, a creative powerhouse and an inspiration to the comedy world,” Comedy Central tweeted.
“Heartbroken by the loss of the talented David A. Arnold. An incredible comedian, with an even bigger heart, his legacy will live on forever,” Netflix wrote on Twitter.
Kevin Hart shared a photo gallery of Arnold along with a lengthy tribute.
“This one hit different… I lost a close friend a brother and a motivator yesterday….This sh-t still doesn’t seem or feel real,” Hart wrote. “Your work ethic and desire to be great in this business and at ya craft and in you’re household is what I admired the most about you….you made it out of the mud man…you took life’s biggest punches and got back up from them. I lost a real friend…I lost a brother.”