Fellow comedians confirmed the news on social media and have taken to Twitter to pay tribute to Cognito, including Jimmy Carr.
Veteran stand-up comedian Ian Cognito has died on-stage – literally. The audience thought it was part of the act. Died with his boots on. That’s commitment to comedy. I’ll never forget his kindness when I started out & how god damn funny he was.
— Jimmy Carr (@jimmycarr) April 12, 2019
RIP Ian Cognito. Always absolutely lovely to me. A proper comedy legend.
— Jim Smallman (@jimsmallman) April 12, 2019
Cognito, 60, was in the middle of his performance when he went to sit down, the BBC.
He then reportedly “laid back for five minutes” during the show and audience members thought it was part of his act as they continued to laugh.
“We came out feeling really sick. We just sat there for five minutes watching him, laughing at him,” audience member John Ostojak told the BBC.
When it was evident that it wasn’t part of the act, staff member called an ambulance as other employees performed CPR.
Cognito, whose real name was Paul Barbieri, was well-respected in the comedy world, and has been performing stand up since the mid-80s, according to the BBC.