RIP Chuy Bravo — Chelsea Handler's Former Sidekick Dead At 63

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How Did Chuy Bravo Die? New Details On Death Of Chelsea Handler's Former Sidekick At Age 63
Entertainment And News

How did Chuy Bravo die? Word has just been released that Chelsea Handler's former sidekick died on December 15, 2019, at the age of 63.

Though best known for his work on the hit show, Chelsea Lately, he was also an actor, restaurateur, and author who was beloved by all who knew him. The public hadn't seen him on their screens since Chelsea Lately went off the air in 2014, but he was still remembered fondly by his family, friends, and former co-workers. 

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Just one week ago, the beloved comedian celebrated his 63rd birthday, and his former boss, Chelsea Handler, took to Instagram to commemorate the occasion. "Happy Birthday to my OG Nugget Chuy Bravo," she said in the post, which appeared to be a "throwback" to his time on Chelsea Lately.

"I love this picture because — not only does it look like Chuy just launched out of my Pikachu, I look like a member of ZZ Top. Happy birthday Chuy, and thank you for 8 years of heavy petting."

Now, just one week later, Chuy Bravo is dead. Here's what we know about his incredible life that was cut too short. How did Chuy Bravo die?  

1. His real name wasn't Chuy Bravo. 

Chuy Bravo was a stage name that seemed to get its start on Chelsea Handler's show. But his real name is Jesus Melgoza (though some sources spell his last name Malgoza), and he's a native of Tangancicuaro, Michoacán, located in the western part of the country of Mexico. He came to the United States when he was a teenager, and his family settled in Los Angeles, CA. 

2. When he first got to Los Angeles, he had difficulty 'finding his way' — and eventually got in trouble. 

Life wasn't always easy for Bravo. In the 1990s, he developed a dependency on alcohol, which ultimately led to a DUI conviction that put him in jail for 16 months. But when he got out of jail, he got clean, started taking acting classes, and subsequently started going on auditions.

Parts in films like The Honeymooners and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End ultimately landed him in front of Chelsea Handler, who gave him his "big break." 

3. Chuy Bravo was a cancer survivor.

"People don’t know that I’m a cancer survivor. I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and was treated right away. Thank God I’m alive and well to this date. I’m also a recovering alcoholic and I was almost homeless at one point. I have been through a lot in my life, but I’ve overcome my struggles and now I’m finally living my life," he said back in 2012. 

4. He had a brief stint on the reality show Splash

Back in 2013, a short-lived reality show called Splash was on ABC. The show, which was hosted by former Olympian Greg Louganis, featured celebrities like Nicole Eggert, Keisha Knight Pulliam, and Katherine Webb competing in a diving-style competition that got progressively harder as weeks went by.

Bravo was also on the show, but ultimately had to leave the show after the first taping due to a fracture he'd suffered during the competition. He was replaced by soccer star Brandi Chastain. 

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5. Bravo filed for bankruptcy in June 2018. 

Reports suggest that in the years following Chelsea Handler's departure from E!, Chuy Bravo had been going through some tough times. Bravo couldn't even turn to his former boss for help, because the pair had a bit of a "falling out."

His tax returns for 2018 showed he had "zero" income, and when he filed for bankruptcy in June 2018, he had a little under $6,000 in assets and more than $30,000 in liabilities. His Mercedes-Benz had been repossessed, and he was unable to afford his monthly rent of $2,100.

The documents went on to show that Bravo had less than $500 in the bank, and he had no retirement plan. Tragically, however, his bankruptcy was discharged in October 2018 because of his failure to take a required financial course.

What's more, Bravo said that even though he and Chelsea Handler hadn't seen one another since 2014, he hoped to reunite with her

6. Despite their rumored falling out, Chelsea Handler paid tribute to her former sidekick. 

"I loved this nugget in a big way, and I took great pleasure in how many people loved him as much as I did and do," she said in an Instagram post. "[Chuy Bravo] gave us so much laughter and I’ll never forget the sound of his laughter coming from his office into mine."

7. How did Chuy Bravo die? His official cause of death is a heart attack. 

Chuy Bravo was rushed to the hospital with 'stomach pains' while he was visiting Mexico City. He passed away while he was in the hospital. 

Today, his representative released an official statement about his cause of death. "On Saturday, December 14 at approximately 1:30 p.m., Bravo was rushed to the emergency room due to a Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage (GI Bleed.) After complications, he suffered an Acute Myocardial Infarction that led to his passing. Bravo’s funeral services took place today and will be cremated. His family has confirmed he will be brought back to Los Angeles (no date has been set) for a memorial service. Bravo’s family is devastated as they cope with his sudden loss. They are overwhelmed with the thoughts and prayers they have received and send their appreciation,” they said.

Our thoughts are with Chuy Bravo's family, friends, and fans during this difficult time. 

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Bernadette Giacomazzo is an editor, writer, publicist, and photographer whose work has appeared in Teen Vogue, People, Us Weekly, The Source, XXL, HipHopDX, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, BET.com, and more.