Plus, a Comedy Central spokesman told TMZ that the network is "broken up" by the news and will pay tribute by re-airing O'Neal's stand-up special 'Elephant in the Room' tonight.
O'Neal's last national TV performance was at the Comedy Central Roast of Charlie Sheen, and his mocking of Sheen was considered to be one of the highlights of the show. Last night Sheen took to Twitter to pay tribute: "The entertainment world as well as the world at large lost a brilliant man today. Patrice had that rare 'light' around him and inside of him. I only knew him for the few days leading up the Roast. Yet I will forever be inspired by his nobility, his grace and his epic talent. My tears today are for the tremendous loss to his true friends and loving family."
Here's a selection of tributes to O'Neal posted on Twitter by his friends and peers over the last 24 hours:
"I started my career w/ Patrice O'Neal. He was 1 of the best ever. Fond memories of road gigs, late night eats & laughs." -- Dane Cook
"RIP Patrice O'Neal. You made us laugh til we cried." -- Sarah Silverman
"One of my favourite stand up comedians. So sad. RIP" -- Ricky Gervais
"RIP Patrice O'Neal. A day spent watching clips of him on-line is a day well spent." -- Seth Meyers
"Patrice O'Neal. One of the funniest men who ever walked this earth. RIP" -- Denis Leary
"Thanks to everybody for the Patrice ONeal comments. One of a kind. In heaven right now, charming half and infuriating half, then reversing." -- Colin Quinn
"RIP Patrice Oneal...Amazing artist. Your voice n spirit will b missed." -- David Alan Grier
"So damn funny and so smart and such a giant heart" -- Bob Saget
"RIP to my friend Patrice O'Neal, a great thinker, a great comic, and a great human being. He had a truly unique perspective on this world." -- Joe Rogan
"I shared some air & some air time with the man on O&A & he was always funny & thoughtful. Patrice - He WILL be missed." -- Kevin Smith
"So grateful i got to see Patrice Oneal do his last NYC gig. man this is so devastating. he truly was one of my favorite comics. RIP." -- Questlove
"Patrice O'Neal. Patrice O'Neal. Patrice O'Neal. Patrice O'Neal. Patrice O'Neal. Patrice O'Neal. Patrice O'Neal. Can't say it enough. RIP." -- Kevin Nealon
'Elephant in the Room' airs Wednesday, November 30 at 8PM ET (re-airing at 12AM ET) on Comedy Central.
Follow Catherine: @TVClaw.