Chuy Bravo will be missed. The Mexican-American actor, who rose to prominence as Chelsea Handler‘s sidekick on E’s Chelsea Lately, sadly passed away at the age of 63. The news comes only a week after the comedian wished him a happy birthday via instagram on Dec. 7. “Happy Birthday to my OG Nugget @chuybravo,” she posted, referencing her longtime nickname for him. “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,” she also added. Here are 5 things to know about the entertainer.
1. He starred on Chelsea Lately. Chuy had heard about casting for Chelsea’s new show back in 2012 — and that she was specifically looking for a “little person.” After successfully auditioning, the actor was front-and-center on the show as her sidekick until it’s 2014 cancellation and often became the butt of her jokes. “We hit it off right away. That was about seven years ago and we have been working together ever since,” Chuy said about meeting Chslea to Latina magazine back in 2012. The pair have remained in touch over the years, as per Chelsa’s touching birthday post, which took Chuy a few days to see! “I have been out of town in Mexico. Wow. Thank her very much. She loves me,” he said to Radar Online just last week. “We have both been busy trying to do our thing that we haven’t seen each other since. But we text, we call each other. She called me last week actually before my birthday.”
2. He was born in Mexico. Chuy was born Tangancicuaro, Michoacán, Mexico on December 7, 1956. His birth name was Jesus Melgoza, and he came from a big family being the youngest of seven. The family packed their and moved to the Los Angeles area when Chuy was 15, settling in the San Fernando Valley. He later graduated from Sylmar High School, later pursuing a career in acting.
3. He was an actor. While he’s best known for his sidekick role on Chelsea’s now defunct E! series, Chuy got the acting bug back in the early 1990s. According to his iMDB, he appeared in the Johnny Depp film Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End back in 2007, and was also in Cedric the Entertainer’s The Honeymooners in 2005.
4. He’s had health struggles. Chuy confirmed in 2012 to Latina magazine that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer, but received treatment after he was diagnosed. “I have been through a lot in my life, but I’ve overcome my struggles and now I’m finally living my life,” he said to the magazine, which also opening about his previous struggles with alcoholism. His battle with alcohol later inspired Chuy to start The Little Nugget Foundation to help alcoholics find recovery in Mexico. As a youngster, Chuy was diagnosed with dwarfism, eventually growing to be 4 feet 3 inches tall.
5. He had financial problems. Chuy reportedly filed for bankruptcy in the state of California in July 2018, according to court documents obtained by Radar Online. He claimed he had “zero” income on the paperwork, and also confirmed he was “not employed.”