The Tragic Death Of The Amazing Johnathan

John Edward Szeles — most known to the audiences he entertained as "The Amazing Johnathan" — has died at the age of 63. The standup comic and magician suffered from the degenerative heart disease cardiomyopathy since being diagnosed in 2007, per TMZ. He revealed to an audience in 2014 that he had been given a year to live, but was able to have one last comeback tour in recent years and has also been the subject of two documentaries.

Szeles' wife Anastasia Synn confirmed the performer's death to the Las Vegas Review-Journal and shared, "The last thing I said to him was, 'I love you, honey, I'll be with you when you get up from your nap. We were feeding him oranges and strawberries. He was so peaceful. He said, 'Yay!' He had the most pure and sweetest look on his face."

The self-described "Freddy Kreuger of comedy" was known for shock-and-gore acts — many fans squirmed over moments like him sucking on his own eyeball as it dangled from its socket, drinking Windex, and pushing a knife through his tongue. He worked as a comic throughout the '80s and '90s, became a staple of Comedy Central, appeared on "Late Night with David Letterman," and wrote practical jokes and magic guide "Every Trick in the Book." His performance on "Criss Angel Mindfreak" boosted his exposure in the early aughts and his magic act landed him one of the longest-running residencies in Las Vegas, according to The Wrap. Friends and colleagues are now sharing memories of the legend. 

Friends pay tribute to The Amazing Johnathan

Although being open about the bleakness of his diagnosis, John Szeles carried on for far longer than his doctors expected, continuing to perform whenever he was able. His wife Anastasia Synn noted to the New York Post that the decline of his health "was fast, but it also wasn't," giving a sense that he could keep hanging on. Now, with news of the death of "The Amazing Johnathan," those who have known him well are paying their respects.

Criss Angel shared several photos with Szeles on Instagram addressing the sad news. "He was a pioneer who paved the road for comedy magicians in so many ways, but more importantly – from day 1 ... when I was unknown – he showed me so much kindness and support," he shared in the caption. "We became friends immediately and remained brothers until the end." Director of "The Amazing Johnathan Documentary" Ben Berman shared his appreciation of his short, yet unique friendship with Szeles on Instagram: "He really was so many things. Creator, destroyer, charmer, fighter, f**king weirdo, next level artist, and of course a BRILLIANT COMEDIAN." The bizarre documentary pushes audiences on what is real and what is simply a very strange joke from the mind of a one-of-a-kind comic.

Szeles himself left the world with his final take during an interview with M Live in 2017, saying, "I've lived a really great life ... I couldn't have asked for more. I've been so lucky."