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Michael Clark Duncan dead at 54After attempting to recover from full cardiac arrest for almost two months, Oscar, Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe-nominated actor, Michael Clarke Duncan, passed away at Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles this morning, according to a statement released by his fiancée Rev. Omarosa Manigault via a publicist. He was 54-years-old.

“Manigault is grateful for all of your prayers and asks for privacy at this time. Celebrations of his life, both private and public, will be announced at a later date,” read the statement.

RELATED: Rest In Peace: Michael Clarke Duncan Dead at 54

To pay homage to the big guy with the big laugh and the even bigger heart, NewsOne shares with you 5 things you may not have known about the extraordinary actor.

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1.) Duncan was born in Chicago, Illinois on December 10, 1957. He grew up in a single-parent home with his sister Judy, and mother, Jean Duncan. (Wikipedia.com)

2.) Duncan attended Alcorn State University in Lorman, MS, majoring in communications, but was forced to drop out when his mother became ill. (TVGuide.com)

3.) He worked as a ditch-digger for People’s Gas Company in Chicago and as a bodyguard for various celebrities such as Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Jamie Foxx and LL Cool J. He also provided security for Hip-Hop legend Notorious B.I.G., but quit that line of work after the rapper was murdered in 1997. (Wikipedia.com)

4.) His first major role was as “Bear” in the Bruce Willis film ‘Armageddon.’  It was Willis who recommended him for his break-out role as John Coffey in “The Green Mile,” co-starring beside Tom Hanks. (NYDailyNews.com)

5.) A practitioner of yoga and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (TV Guide), Duncan became a vegetarian and spokesperson for PETA after experiencing health risks and illness. (Peta.org)

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A genuine success story, Michael Clarke Duncan was the underdog whom everyone loved to watch excel with each film. Each movie role, each flash of his contagious, humble grin, made people love him more. He made struggling creative artists believe that all things were possible through hard work and lived that truth with zeal everyday.

The bright light of our gentle giant will truly be missed.

Rest in peace, Mr. Duncan.