Chelsea Handler Pays Tribute to Sidekick Chuy Bravo After His Death: 'Loved This Nugget in a Big Way'
Actor Chuy Bravo has died. He was 63.
Bravo, who was best known for his role alongside Chelsea Handler on her E! series, Chelsea Lately, died at the Centro Médico Dalinde in Mexico City at 8:20 a.m. Sunday, PEOPLE confirms. (Entertainment Tonight was the first to report.)
“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,” his rep said in a statement.
The entertainer starred on Chelsea Lately as Handler’s sidekick, and the two had a friendship that went beyond just working together. Shortly after news of his death, Handler, 44, shared a tribute to Bravo, recalling his laughter and how much she valued their friendship.
“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. @chuybravo gave us so much laughter and I’ll never forget the sound of his laughter coming from his office into mine,” Handler wrote alongside a collage of photos of the pair.
“Or his ‘business calls’ with his ‘business manager,’ or his shoe rack with all his children-sized shoes,” she continued. “I’ll never forget him coming to Christmas with my family one year in the Florida keys, and when my niece who was 5 or 6 at the time—saw him, she ran in the other direction saying she was scared. My sister and I were mortified and were apologizing to Chuy, who told us, ‘it’s ok, lots of little kids get scared when they see big kids coming their way.’ I love you, Chuy!”
Earlier this month, Handler wished Bravo happy birthday on Instagram, again calling him her “nugget.”
“Happy Birthday to my OG Nugget @chuybravo,” she wrote in the caption. “I love this picture because–not only does it look like Chuy just launched out of my peekachu, I look like a member of ZZ Top. Happy birthday Chuy, and thank you for 8 years of heavy petting.”
Handler previously told PEOPLE that she would even include Bravo in her wedding party, should she ever get married.
“If I got married I wouldn’t even have a bridesmaid. [My talk show sidekick Chuy Bravo] would be my flower girl – or no, ring bearer. See! I don’t even know what happens at weddings,” she said back in 2013.
Handler has also said that the best part of working on the show was spending every day with Bravo.
“The worst part of doing the show is that I have to work five days a week, which I’m not accustomed to,” she told ET in 2007. “I’m a stand-up comedian, so I usually would work twice a week and it’s for like, an hour. The best part is that Chuy and I get to spend every day together. I love him!”
Heather McDonald, who was a writer on Chelsea Lately, shared the news of Bravo’s death on Instagram Sunday.
“I just heard minutes ago about our Chuy,” she wrote in the caption. “I don’t have many details but we are finding now Please keep his family in your prayers and remember all the laughs and joy he brought to so many of us. #chuybravorip”
Bravo’s last post on the social media platform was in November.
The youngest of seven, the actor — whose full name was Jesus Melgoza Bravo — was born in Mexico in 1956, and moved to California when he was 15 years old.
In addition to appearing on Chelsea Lately, Bravo also appeared in the 2005 movie The Honeymooners and in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.
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