The A-Lister

Comedian Gallagher has died from 'massive organ failure' aged 76

Prop Comedian Gallagher
Prop Comedian Gallagher / Lynn Goldsmith/GettyImages

American comedian Gallagher -- who is best known for his comedic performers of the 1980s for his prop and observational routine that included the signature act of smashing a watermelon on stage with a sledgehammer -- has died from "massive organ failure" aged 76 - a decade after retiring from performing live due to suffering multiple heart attacks.

The TV personality, real name Leo Anthony Gallagher Jr., who shot to fame after appearing on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show in 1975, died in a Palm Springs hospice on Friday morning, reports TMZ.

Gallagher, who was famed for smashing watermelons with a sledgehammer on stage during his act, had been in ill health for many years and had been forced to step away from the spotlight after suffering two heart attacks in the space of two weeks in March 2012.

His representative told the publication: "Gallagher stayed on the road touring America for decades. He was pretty sure he held a record for the most stand-up dates, by attrition alone. While Gallagher had his detractors, he was an undeniable talent and an American success story."