The Root is sad to share that comedian and producer David A. Arnold has died at the age of 54. The news was confirmed by his family in a statement per his rep, Rob Greenwald, on Tuesday.
“It is with great sadness that we confirm the untimely passing of our husband, father, brother and friend,” his family said in the statement provided to USA Today. “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.”
Arnold was a beloved funny man whose comedic talents brought him in front of thousands via a handful of stand-up specials on Netflix, HBO and BET. His latest Netflix special, It Ain’t For the Weak, premiered on Netflix back in July. He also served as a writer and producer on Fuller House and was the creative brain behind Nickelodeon’s That Girl Lay Lay series.
“We are shocked and incredibly saddened by the sudden passing of our dear friend and creative partner, David A. Arnold,” Nickelodeon said in a statement per Deadline. “David was an immense talent and a gifted storyteller with a wide range of fans, from adults through his stand-up, to kids and families through the Nickelodeon show he created and executive produced for us, That Girl Lay Lay. On behalf of everyone at Nickelodeon, we send our thoughts and condolences to his family, his friends and his fans.”
Some of Arnold’s other writing and producing credits include The Rickey Smiley Show, The Real Husbands of Hollywood, Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns, Tyler Perry’s House of Payne, and Bigger, according to NBC News. He and his wife Julie were also featured on OWN’s Black Love series back in 2020.
As the news of his passing began to spread, a handful of fellow comedians and industry peers sent their condolences on social media:
“My brother is gone... thank you for the laughs, the encouragement and the inspiration.. my love and prayers to his lovely wife Julie and his beautiful daughters... we are all heartbroken,” wrote comedian Loni Love in a tweet.
“David, you were a light and you will continue to be,” penned Holly Robinson Peete online. “During 2020 your hilarious content got me through some tough days. Sending all my love, healing energy & sympathies to your beautiful family. Thank you so much for everything you gave us. Rest In Love, David Arnold…”
“I’m gutted by the devastating and untimely passing of a good friend in comedy, a super solid dude, a mentor and teacher to many, an overwhelming talented human and a man in love and immensely loved by his family. I will be praying hard for them tonight. RIP David Arnold,” wrote comedian and A Black Lady Sketch Show star Gabrielle Dennis.
D.L. Hughley penned: “This one hits different! So very very sad! RIP#DavidArnold”
Arnold is survived by his wife Julie, daughters Anna Grace and Ashlyn Elizabeth, his mother and sisters, and his extended family, The Root continues to send its love, prayers, and support to all who knew and loved David Arnold.