Dick Gregory, civil rights activist and comedian, dead at 84

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Dick Gregory, civil rights activist and comedian. Walter Perez reports during Action News at 11 p.m. on August 19, 2017. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)

Comedian and civil rights activist Dick Gregory died Saturday at the age of 84, his son said on Gregory's official social media pages.

Dick Gregory, who broke racial barriers in the 1960s and used his humor to spread messages of social justice and nutritional health.

Gregory's son, Christian, told The Associated Press his father died late Saturday in Washington, D.C. after being hospitalized for about a week. He had suffered a severe bacterial infection.

Gregory was one of the first black comedians to find mainstream success with white audiences in the early 1960s. He rose from an impoverished childhood in St. Louis to become a celebrated satirist who deftly commented upon racial divisions at the dawn of the civil rights movement.

He also ran for president in 1968 as the Peace and Freedom party candidate.

Gregory's family also posted a statement on Instagram confirming his death.



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(Copyright ©2017 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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