He was found unresponsive at his home in Forestburgh, New York, and an autopsy is pending, his agent confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter on Friday (21Oct16).
Hollywood stars have come forward to pay tribute to Meaney on social media, including Knocked Up director Judd Apatow.
“Kevin Meaney was as funny as they get and the nicest man,” he wrote on Twitter. “He could make you lose your mind laughing. A very special person.”
NSYNC star Lance Bass, who starred alongside Meaney in the Broadway musical Hairspray, shared an image of the late comedian on Instagram alongside a touching caption.
“I’m devastated about the loss of one of my favorite human beings!” he posted on Friday. “#KevinMeaney was an incredible dad and one hell of a comedian! Thanks for the laughs my friend.”
Comedian and actress Kathy Griffin also paid tribute to the late star, who she dated before he came out as gay in 2008.
“I adored Kevin Meaney. He took me 2 Dodger games. We dated (I know, I know) He was the funniest AND sweetest. We LAUGHED! RIP,” she wrote.
“Always thought Kevin Meaney was a brilliant comedian,” fellow comedian Patton Oswalt shared on Twitter. “Then we hung out in Ireland and I found out he was also a terrific person. RIP.”
Kat Dennings, star of U.S. comedy show 2 Broke Girls, shared her grief at the unexpected passing of the comedian. “Kevin Meaney was on our show and the loveliest man. So funny and sweet and unforgettable. So sad. Rest In Peace,” she penned.
Meaney was a regular on the stand-up comedy circuit for more than 25 years, appearing on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, Late Show With David Letterman, Oprah and Late Night With Conan O’Brien.
He also starred in the short-lived 1990 TV sitcom Uncle Buck, as well as the Tom Hanks film Big. Tom’s son Colin Hanks paid tribute to his father’s former co-star on social media. “Dang. Loved Kevin Meaney. That man made me laugh,” he wrote on Friday.
Meaney was married twice, and shares a daughter with his second wife, TV executive Mary Ann Halford. He later came out in 2008, and said his time working on Broadway gave him the courage to accept who he was.