Growing up in Wisconsin, Chris Farley idolized comic John Belushi.
Farley even managed to trace nearly the same career foot-steps, joining Chicago's Second City improvisational troupe, then the cast of NBC's "Saturday Night Live" before he went on to star in such movies as "Tommy Boy" and "Black Sheep" and "Beverly Hills Ninja."Inspired by Belushi, the blubbery comedian's specialty was sweaty, tightly wound characters who erupted in vein-popping frenzies. Like his comic idol who died young, Farley lived large, overeating and by many accounts abusing drugs and alcohol.
Farley was found dead on the floor of his apartment Thursday, clad in pajama bottoms. He was 33.
The cause of death was not known, although police said there was no sign of foul play. An autopsy was planned for Friday.
No drugs were found in an initial sweep of the apartment, police Sgt. Robert Delaney said. An unidentified spokesman for the Cook County medical examiner's office said Farley was found with a blood-tinged fluid coming from his nose and a white, frothy fluid spilling from his mouth, indicating his death might have been drug-related, the Chicago Tribune reported Friday.
Farley's brother John found the body in the 60th-floor apartment of the John Hancock Building along the stretch of Michigan Avenue called the Magnificent Mile.
Friends and colleagues said they had been concerned about the 290-pound, size-54 comic.
In an Us magazine article this year titled "Chris Farley: On the Edge of Disaster," Farley's manager, Marc Gurvitz, said he was worried, even though he felt Farley's long battle with booze and drugs was under control.
"He's got a big career and a great life ahead of him," Gurvitz told the magazine. "But will he go the route of John Candy if he's not careful? Of course he will." Candy, another comedian, died of a heart attack in 1994 at age 43.
Charna Halpern, a close friend and director of the Improv Olympic theater school in Chicago where Farley studied during the 1980s, said she knew Farley used drugs and alcohol.
"Was it a problem, was it recreational? I don't know. He loved to drink," she said. "I don't think he felt in control."
On "SNL," Farley's characters were clearly inspired by Belushi.