Comedic legend, civil rights activist Dick Gregory dies, family confirms

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Comedic legend and civil rights activist Dick Gregory died Saturday night in Washington, his family confirms. (Matt Sayles/Invision/AP, File)

Dick Gregory, who broke racial barriers in the 1960s and used his humor to spread messages of social justice and nutritional health, has died. He was 84.

Gregory's son, Christian, told The Associated Press his father died late Saturday in Washington, D.C. after being hospitalized for about a week. He had suffered a severe bacterial infection.

Gregory was one of the first black comedians to find mainstream success with white audiences in the early 1960s. He rose from an impoverished childhood in St. Louis to become a celebrated satirist who deftly commented upon racial divisions at the dawn of the civil rights movement.

He also ran for president in 1968 as the Peace and Freedom Party candidate.

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