Entertainment

Family of second comedian who died after ‘taking fentanyl-laced cocaine’ pay tribute to performer


The family of one of three people who died after apparently taking fentanyl-laced cocaine at a house in Los Angeles has spoken out, calling his death a ‘devastating loss’ that is ‘leaving a hole’ in their hearts.

Enrico Colangeli, 48, was found dead early Saturday morning in the Venice Beach neighborhood of LA along with two other people: fellow comic Fuquan Johnson, 42, and friend Natalie Williamson, 33. 

Comedian Kate Quigley, 39, was also found inside the home and taken to a hospital in critical condition early Saturday.

‘Enrico (Ricky) was incredibly loved by his entire family, and we’ll miss him more than words can describe,’ Colangeli’s cousin Maria Spencer told The Sun

Enrico Colangeli, 48, was found dead at a home in Venice Beach, California early Saturday morning. Authorities believe he ingested cocaine laced with the powerful opioid fentanyl

Colangeli (left) was found dead along with Fuquan Johnson (right) and Natalie Williamson (not pictured). Colangeli and Johnson performed at the HaHa Comedy Club in North Hollywood

Colangeli (left) was found dead along with Fuquan Johnson (right) and Natalie Williamson (not pictured). Colangeli and Johnson performed at the HaHa Comedy Club in North Hollywood

Colangeli's cousin called his death a 'true heartbreak' and a 'devastating loss for his siblings, nieces and nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins who have fond memories' of him

Colangeli’s cousin called his death a ‘true heartbreak’ and a ‘devastating loss for his siblings, nieces and nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins who have fond memories’ of him

The son of the owner of the HaHa Comedy Club said he will host a memorial for Johnson and Colangeli on Thursday

The son of the owner of the HaHa Comedy Club said he will host a memorial for Johnson and Colangeli on Thursday

She said the comic was ‘not only a smart, talented comedian but was also a highly skilled carpenter who worked for his family’s construction company. 

‘Losing Ricky is a true heartbreak and is a devastating loss for his siblings, nieces and nephews, aunts, uncles, and cousins who have many fond memories of family Sunday dinners, amazing Christmas Eve meals, and other family celebrations that can only be remembered as epic.

‘We loved Ricky dearly and his death is leaving a hole in our hearts that is somewhat comforted by knowing he is now at peace in the arms of his loving parents, Lynda and Rico, who we lost in 2019.’

Johnson was remembered by his friends as a warm, friendly person who would often smile

Johnson was remembered by his friends as a warm, friendly person who would often smile

His credits include an appearance on TRUTV’s Laff Mobb’s Laff Tracks as well as All Def Digital’s website in several web series

His credits include an appearance on TRUTV’s Laff Mobb’s Laff Tracks as well as All Def Digital’s website in several web series 

Colangeli worked the LA comedy circuit for a number of years but had recently moved back back to his native Massachusetts after the death of his parents. 

Jack Assadourian Jr., whose parents own the HaHa Comedy Club in North Hollywood, told The Sun that he will be hosting a memorial for Johnson and Colangeli on Thursday to commemorate the two men, both of whom ‘had a heart of gold.’

Colangeli and Johnson were honored in an Instagram tribute posted by the Ha Ha Club on Sunday honoring the ‘two HaHa Family Members,’ captioned ‘Make Everyone Laugh In Heaven.’ 

Assadourian, 36, says he had known the pair for more than a decade and at one time lived with them both.

‘They both were the life of the party and would light up a room. You always wanted to be around them,’ he said, adding the three would talk or see one another around six times each week.

‘We did shows together, toured together, spent holidays together, birthdays and major events – or even it was just on Monday,’ Assadourian added.

‘We were a family.’

Autopsies are being performed on the three victims, who are currently at the Los Angeles Coroner’s Office.  

Quigley, who was transported to the hospital in critical condition but is expected to recover, texted friend Brian Redban Sunday to say: ‘I’m alive. Not great. But im OK,’ with Redban sharing a screenshot of the message on his Instagram Sunday. 

Comedian Kate Quigley, 39, was found in critical condition but is expected to recover

Comedian Kate Quigley, 39, was found in critical condition but is expected to recover

Quigley and Fuquan Johnson in May 2018 in Los Angeles. The pair was known to be friends

Quigley and Fuquan Johnson in May 2018 in Los Angeles. The pair was known to be friends

Quigley was most recently seen on MTV's ADDTV

Quigley was most recently seen on MTV’s ADDTV

Colangeli (left) and Kate Quigley (second from left) appear in a photo in Colangeli's Instagram

Colangeli (left) and Kate Quigley (second from left) appear in a photo in Colangeli’s Instagram

Investigators believe all four people ingested cocaine laced with fentanyl, a synthetic opioid similar to morphine that is 50 times more potent than heroin, according to TMZ, which first broke the story. 

It is unclear who supplied the drugs, and whether other people at the party also consumed the laced cocaine.

Police were called to the house in the 200 block of Carroll Canal – a seven-minute walk from the beach – just after midnight and pronounced Johnson, Colangeli and Williamson dead at the scene. Quigley reportedly lives next door.

‘I came outside and saw an ambulance and several firetrucks and they were putting somebody in the ambulance,’ neighbor Kim Bresson told KCAL

‘Then, I walked around to the front and saw three people who did not look well and police inside. Kinda shocked and it’s kinda scary.’  

Quigley, who dated Hootie & The Blowfish lead singer Darius Rucker for much of 2020, has appeared in several television shows including The Office, Star Trek: Hidden Frontier, and Guber. 

White House pushes to make fentanyl a Schedule 1 drug as drug overdoses in the nation soar

 

 

The Biden administration is recommending that Congress classify fentanyl as a Schedule 1 drug as drug overdoses in the nation soar. 

There were a record 93,000 overdose deaths in 2020, and synthetic fentanyl is the fastest driver of this trend, according to White House data from July.

Biden’s new policy would exclude the drugs from most quantity-based mandatory minimum penalties, which civil rights groups warn could exacerbate racial disparities in the criminal justice system. 

‘By acting on these recommendations, Congress can take decisive action against the fastest growing driver of overdoses in the country, while protecting civil rights and encouraging scientific research,’ Regina LaBelle, the acting director of National Drug Control Policy, said Thursday in a statement

In February 2018, the Trump Department of Justice issued a rule temporarily making fentanyl analogues Schedule 1 drugs. 

Biden extended it through late October earlier this year.  

Sen. Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican, argued that scrapping mandatory minimums is being too soft on criminals.  

‘Fentanyl analogues kill thousands of Americans each year. To protect our communities from the dealers pushing this poison, President Biden needs to keep them off the streets, not let them off the hook,’ Cotton told Fox News, which first reported the fentanyl development. 

The policy would allow mandatory minimums to be used in sentencing ‘for cases where death or serious bodily injury can be directly linked to the FRS that was trafficked,’ the policy announcement said.

Johnson was a frequent performer on the Los Angeles comedy circuit, performing at various clubs around town for the last 10 years.  

Johnson and Quigley are known to have been friends, and have been photographed together over the last few years.

‘He was one of those bright spots in the community where everybody knew…you always knew he was gonna smile at you, you always knew he was gonna say something nice,’ comedian and friend Ron G. said of Johnson. 

‘If any comedian is going through this thing, trying to figure out this life and healing, just please make sure you call the Laugh Factory, tell Jamie and we will get you some help,’ Ron G. added. 

News of Fuquan Johnson’s death shocked his fans on Twitter.

‘Fuquan Johnson 4L (for life),’ tweeted Brian Moses. He added emojis showing a crown, a heart, and a sad emoji face.

Nick Alexander, a comedian, tweeted: ‘What can I say about @Mybadfuu.

‘You loved and lived lie on ya own terms. Never gave a damn what people thought about you cuz you were solid within yaself and a real Jerzey n***a.

‘We gonna miss you Fu.

‘Rest in Power Fuquan Johnson.

‘Hit em with Fu Facts in the afterlife!!’

Luke Barnett, a writer and producer, tweeted: ‘Very sad to hear about the passing of my buddy Fuquan Johnson.

‘Smiliest, happiest dude, and a local icon in the North Hollywood community, RIP.’

Barnett also tweeted a photo showing a shot glass of liquor that was served with a napkin at Nobar in North Hollywood. Johnson’s name was written on the napkin in tribute.

Johnny Taylor Jr, a stand-up comedian, tweeted: ‘Hey everybody, please stop doing cocaine. Please.

Mario Salazar, a stand-up comedian, tweeted: ‘Fentanyl is an evil monster.

‘RIP Fuquan Johnson and god strength to Kate Quigley!! What an absolutely heartbreaking story.

‘It’s so grim when the world loses funny people!! Comedians let’s please be careful out there.’

Twitter users also paid tribute to Quigley.

Adrienne Airhart tweeted: ‘I just heard about Kate Quigley being in hospital. Not religious, but I am for sure praying for her right now.

‘Pull through, babe.’

Another Twitter user wrote: ‘Please let Kate Quigley be ok! She is a funny and talented comedian! Let her be ok!!’

‘You got this Kate, stay strong, we love you,’ tweeted That Doge Girl.

Another Twitter user wrote: ‘Bruh Fuquan Johnson gone too???? Man this is too much.’

Mario Salazar, a stand-up comedian, tweeted: ‘Fentanyl is an evil monster.

‘RIP Fuquan Johnson and god strength to Kate Quigley!! What an absolutely heartbreaking story.

‘It’s so grim when the world loses funny people!! Comedians let’s please be careful out there.’



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