COLUMBUS, Ga. — Popular comedian Tim Wilson, who regularly appeared at Comedy Off Broadway in Lexington and was a onetime Kentucky resident, died this week of a heart attack.
Muscogee County, Ga., Deputy Coroner Charles Newton said Mr. Wilson, 52, died Wednesday night at St. Francis Hospital in Columbus, Ga.
Born Timothy Collins Wilson in Columbus in 1961, Mr. Wilson was a stand-up comic and a country music artist, combining both in his act.
He made a name for himself with humorous country songs such as Garth Brooks Ruined My Life and First Baptist Bar & Grill. He also co-wrote Jeff Foxworthy's hit Redneck 12 Days of Christmas.
In addition to releasing more than a dozen albums — including I Should Have Married My Father-In-Law, Low-Class Love Affair and Hillbilly Homeboy — Mr. Wilson was a frequent radio guest on John Boy and Billy, Bob and Tom, and Big D and Bubba. He also appeared on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.
Mr. Wilson spent much of his career in Atlanta and was a regular at The Punchline Comedy Club for several decades.
He performed at Lexington's Comedy Off Broadway dozens of times, most recently in December.
Buddy Nelms, owner of The Loft, a club in Columbus where Mr. Wilson often performed, said many people are in shock.
"Tim lived large," Nelms said. "He was a big, vibrant person."
Nelms called him a "crafty vocalist who could imitate anybody."
Mr. Wilson also was known as a history buff.
He co-wrote the book Happy New Year — ted with Roger C. Keiss on his theory that Ted Bundy was responsible for a couple of the "Stocking Stranger" killings in the Columbus area in the late 1970s.
Mr. Wilson moved several years ago from Roswell, Ga., to Louisville and then to Nashville, where he most recently lived.
Fellow comedians took to Twitter to express their condolences.
Daniel Whitney, aka Larry the Cable Guy, wrote, "Horrible news. Comedian Tim Wilson passed away tonight. I hope you were one of the lucky ones that got to see him perform. One of the best."
Tom Mabe, a Louisville comic known for "reverse harassment" conversations with telemarketers, characterized Mr. Wilson as the John Wayne of comedy.
Billy Gardell, star of CBS sitcom Mike & Molly, referred to Mr. Wilson as the Mark Twain of stand-up comedy.
Although Mr. Wilson was often stereotyped as a "Southern comic," his long-time manager, Chris DiPetta said, "the only thing Southern was his accent. His humor was universal. He was the funniest guy I knew, and I have worked with a lot of comics."
Mr. Wilson is survived by his wife, Deidre, and a son, Ari, and a daughter, Sophia, from a previous marriage.
The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, Associated Press, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Indianapolis Star and Herald-Leader staff contributed to this report.