Rik Mayall the actor and stand-up comedian may have been killed by an epileptic fit caused by a quad bike crash in 1998, according to the Daily Telegraph. The crash 16 years ago which nearly ended his life left him on life support for five days and suffering from epilepsy, for which he had to take daily medication.
Although the 56-year-old left doctors stunned by his remarkable recovery after the crash, his head injuries were extensive, having suffered two brain haemorrhages. Although he returned to work the following year he did once speak having a fit as a result of failing to take his medication.
The accident happened on the day before Good Friday in 1998, he later joked: “I beat Jesus Christ. He was dead for three days at Easter. When I crashed it was the day before Good Friday – Crap Thursday – and I was technically dead until Easter Monday – that’s five days. I beat him 5-3.”
Despite the jokes his head injuries were so serious that he even escaped hospital in his pyjamas because he was convinced medical staff and the police were conspiring against him. On the face of it, he did make a good recovery, but the epilepsy remained.
Speaking outside their West London home, Mayall’s wife Barbara Robbin said she did not know how he had died. “We don’t know yet what happened. He had a strong heart, so I don’t think it was a heart attack. But we just don’t know until the coroner’s report,” she said, adding: “Maybe he had a fit, maybe it was his heart. We just don’t know.”
The make-up artist who married Mayall in 1985 is understood to have found him dead. Last night their youngest child, 18-year-old Bonnie posted on facebook: “My dad was loved not only by my family, but by many many others. We will never forget him and neither will the world.
“R.I.P to the man, the myth, the legend – my wonderful, generous, foul mouthed and hysterical father. My idol now and forever. We love you daddy.”
Tributes also came in from the world of comedy, including one from Mayall’s long-term comic partner and university friend Adrian Edmondson.
In a statement, Edmondson said “There were times when Rik and I were writing together when we almost died laughing. They were some of the most carefree stupid days I ever had, and I feel privileged to have shared them with him. And now he’s died for real. Without me. Selfish b——.”
Although Mayall worked with Edmundson on the Young Ones and Bottom he will probably be best remembered in political circles as Alan B’Stard from the New Statesman. In the show he played a Conservative MP, obsessed with sex, money and power. The series originally aired on ITV but was later turned into a stage show in which B’stard had defected to New Labour.
There will now be a post-mortem to discover the exact cause of death.