Comedian George Carlin dead at 71

SANTA MONICA, Calif (AP) -- A publicist for George Carlin says the legendary comedian has died of heart failure at a hospital in Santa Monica. He was 71.

Jeff Abraham says Carlin went into St. John's Hospital on Sunday afternoon, complaining of chest pain. Carlin died at 5:55 p.m. Pacific time.

The dean of counterculture comedians, Carlin constantly pushed the envelope with his jokes, particularly with a routine called "The Seven Words You Can Never Say On TV."

When Carlin uttered all seven at a show in Milwaukee in 1972, he was arrested for disturbing the peace. And when they were played on a New York radio station, they resulted in a Supreme Court ruling in 1978 upholding the government's authority to sanction stations for broadcasting offensive language.

Carlin, who had a history of heart trouble, performed as recently as last weekend at the Orleans Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas.

It was announced Tuesday that Carlin was to be awarded in November the 11th annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. He earned the honor through his 50-year career as a Grammy-winning standup comedian, writer and actor.

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