American actor and comedian Bernie Mac died Saturday in Chicago of complications from pneumonia.  He was 50 years old.

Mac had sarcoidosis, an inflammatory lung disease, but his publicist said the pneumonia was not related to that disease.

Bernie Mac played the ex-con blackjack dealer in the Ocean's Eleven film trilogy, which also starred George Clooney and Brad Pitt.  Clooney said of Mac's passing, "The world just got a little less funny."

Mac received the prestigious Peabody Award for his television sitcom The Bernie Mac Show, which also garnered Globe Globe and Emmy nominations.  

He first came to nationwide prominence in 2000 with his appearance in the film The Original Kings of Comedy, a documentary that brought a new generation of African-American comedians to a wider audience.

Mac's film appearances included the 2003 film Charlie's Angels, last year's Transformers, and the comedic remake of Guess Who's Coming to Dinner entitled Guess Who.  

Last year, Mac told late-night talk show host David Letterman that he planned to retire soon because he wanted to enjoy his life.  

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.