Sylmar resident Chuy Bravo, best known as the sidekick on the E! network’s “Chelsea Lately” show, died Sunday, Dec.15. He was 63.
The cause of his death was reported to be a heart attack.
Bravo, whose given name was Jesús Melgoza, had been visiting his family in Mexico City where he was rushed to the emergency room of the Centro Medico Dalinde Saturday afternoon, Dec. 14, after complaining of stomach pain. He was diagnosed at the hospital with a Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage (GI bleed) and then suffered a fatal heart attack.
Bravo was born in Tangancicuaro, Michoacan, Mexico in 1957 and started the Little Nugget Foundation in his hometown to benefit other little people. He also founded the Bravo Academy to support Latinx people in entertainment and was the face of Chuy’s Tex-Mex restaurant.
A funeral service was held for Bravo in Mexico on Monday. He was cremated, and a memorial service will be held for him in Los Angeles at a later date.
On the late night talk show, Handler often referred to Bravo as “nugget.” He was a very popular figure on the show and was known for his quick wit and skits.
Upon learning of his death, Chelsea Handler posted photos of them on her instagram page along with a statement:
“I loved this nugget in a big way and I took pleasure in how much other people loved him as I did and do. He gave us so much laughter and I’ll never forget the sound of his laughter coming from his office into mine. Or his ‘business calls’ with his “business manager,” or his shoe rack with all his children-sized shoes.”
“I’ll never forget him coming to Christmas with my family one year in the Florida keys, and when my niece — who was 5 or 6 at the time— saw him, she ran in the other direction saying she was scared.”
“My sister and I were mortified and were apologizing to Chuy, who told us, ‘it’s ok, lots of little kids get scared when they see big kids coming their way.’ I love you, Chuy!”
During his tenure on the show there had been reported controversy regarding how he was treated with at least one former employee and former friend of the late night talk show host claiming that Handler treated Chuy like a “slave or pet.”
Bravo had previously survived prostate cancer while he was still working on the show and had shared that he was a recovering alcoholic. At the end of the show’s run, Bravo had expressed that he was looking for new opportunities. He had filed bankruptcy in 2018 indicating he was unemployed and could not pay his rent.