Comic Gallagher suffers heart attack in Texas

LOS ANGELES Thu Mar 15, 2012 6:53pm EDT

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Gallagher, the stand-up comedian famous for smashing watermelons, has suffered a heart attack and is recovering in a Texas hospital, a representative for the comic said on Thursday.

Gallagher, 65, was set to perform on Wednesday night at Coach Joe's Hat Tricks in Lewisville, Texas, when he collapsed backstage. An ambulance took him to a nearby hospital where doctors determined he had suffered a heart attack. He remains there under sedation, said Christine Scherrer, a representative for Gallagher.

The comedian is famous for using props in his act, including the "Sledge-O-Matic" which he wields to smash watermelons and other produce. He starred in a number of successful television comedy specials in the 1980s, and was one of that decade's best known comedians.

He has retained a devoted core fan base and tours often.

Gallagher's heart attack happened almost exactly a year after the comedian suffered an attack and collapsed on stage during a performance in Minnesota.

"That was little bit more mild than this one," Scherrer said. She added that the comedian's family is with him.

It will not be clear how long Gallagher will remain hospitalized until he wakes up from sedation, Scherrer said.

In 2003, Gallagher was one of over 100 candidates for governor of California in an usual recall election.

The comedian's scheduled Texas shows in Lewisville, El Paso and Woodlands have been postponed, as have other performances in Hinton, Oklahoma, and the Oregon cities of Bend and Portland, Scherrer said.

(Reporting By Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)

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