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Comedian and 'Rel' co-creator Kevin Barnett dies at 32

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 1/23/2019 Cydney Henderson
a person talking on a cell phone: Comedian and writer Kevin Barnett has died. © Bryan Bedder Comedian and writer Kevin Barnett has died.

Comedian and writer Kevin Barnett, who co-created the Fox series "Rel," has died at the age of 32. 

"Our hearts are broken, as are those of everyone at 'REL,' at the news of Kevin Barnett’s passing," Twentieth Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment said in a statement to USA TODAY Tuesday.

"He was an incredibly funny, wildly talented man who had so much more to do and so many more stories to tell," the network said. "We send our thoughts and prayers to his friends and family during this difficult time."

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Barnett's cause of death is not yet known, but his Instagram page shows the comedian was vacationing in Mexico just days before his death. 

"In mexico. Bought myself a sweater," he captioned a picture of himself wearing his new souvenir Saturday. "Been accused of appropriation several times. In my head I just gave a lady some money so I ain’t cold. Either way. Swag heavy. Mixtape comin." 

Barnett created the TV series "Rel" along with "Get Out" star Lil Rel Howery and Josh Rabinowitz. It debuted on Fox in September 2018. His other works include the Fox series "Unhitched" and TruTV's sketch comedy series "Friends of the People."

Many comedians took to social media to share their condolences. 

Howery, who stars as Rel in the Fox TV show, called Barnett a "true friend."

"I was trying to figure out what to say but I can’t I’m truly heartbroken by this and just really hurt as the hours pass," he wrote on Instagram. "So gifted and so dope …I don’t know what else to say this is crazy to me!"

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A post shared by Lil Rel Howery (@comedianlilrel) on Jan 22, 2019 at 5:21pm PST

"Brooklyn Nine-Nine" actress Chelsea Peretti tweeted that she's "so sad."

"Rel" executive producer  Mike Scully said, "Kevin Barnett was a great standup, but I knew him as a smart, funny, talented TV writer and just a really sweet guy who made the insanity of the late nights more fun."

"Daily Show" correspondent Roy Wood Jr. wrote: "Kevin Barnett was a beautifully fearless and funny soul."

"Honestly, so few comics are even funny, fewer are cool, and almost none are decent. This guy was all three," tweeted Zach Broussard, a comedy writer who makes an annual list of the 1,000 best comedians.

"Broad City" and "Younger" writer/actor Eliot Glazer tweeted about the "awful day." He said, "Kevin Barnett was one of the best: sweet, kind,  and endlessly funny. It's incomprehensible that he's gone, but he'll be missed by so many."

Contributing: Carly Mallenbaum

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