James McNair, who was best known by his stage-name Jimmy Mack, died Saturday from injuries sustained in a New Jersey bus crash that involved Tracy Morgan, People.com reported on Sunday. McNair was 63. Morgan remains in critical condition.
McNair was pronounced dead at the scene after the New Jersey Turnpike tragedy, authorities told the Associated Press. Four others, including Morgan, were rushed to the hospital after the multi-vehicle collision and remain in critical condition.
McNair was a comedian and comedy writer who hosted "The Original Uncle Jimmy Mack's Amateur Hour.” He was a close friend of the “30 Rock” funny man and also wrote some material for him. McNair, originally from Peeskill, New York, met Morgan at Harlem's Uptown Comedy Club when Morgan was beginning his career.
McNair's sister, Valerie Daniel, told CNN McNair "spoke very highly of Tracy. They go way back."
"He was one of the first comedians that took Tracy under his wing," Morgan's ex-wife, Sabina Morgan, told the New York Daily News of the 62-year-old Westchester resident. "They were very close."
Royale Watkins, a comedian from Los Angeles, told the Associated Press he knew both comedians from performing with them at New York clubs. "There may be guys like Tracy who get the fame and notoriety, but you have people like Jimmy Mack who have kind of energized and fueled cats like Tracy and kept them going on the road."
Morgan and two others remained in critical condition Sunday at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey. A spokesman said Morgan was "more responsive" Sunday after undergoing surgery to repair a broken leg.
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