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Dick Gregory, civil rights activist and comedian, dies

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Dick Gregory dies at 84US comedian and civil rights activist Dick Gregory - who broke racial barriers in the 1960s and used his fame to counter racism and protested wars in Vietnam and the Middle East - has died aged 84.

Gregory died at a hospital in Washington DC late on Saturday after being hospitalised for a week following a bacterial infection, his family said on social media.

One of the first black stand-up comedians to find success with white audiences, Gregory rose from an impoverished childhood in St Louis to become a celebrated satirist who deftly commented on racial divisions at the dawn of the US civil rights movement.

His comedic style would pave the way for, and heavily influence, comedy greats such as Bill Cosby, Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock and Dave Chapelle.

A close friend of Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X, and Muhammad Ali, Gregory was in the vanguard of the struggle for racial equality in the 1960s and championed integration.

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