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Chris Gallagher, 76, of Lakewood, died of pancreatic cancer

Chris Gallagher, 76, of Lakewood, died of pancreatic cancer

Gallagher, melon-smashing comedian who hurled food into audience, dies at 76

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CLEVELAND — Chris “Melon the Melon” Gallagher, a former member of the Melvins, died Monday at the age of 76.

Gallagher, a three-time Grammy award-winning comedian who threw food at a crowd during a stand-up comedy show in 1992, said he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in December. A memorial service for Gallagher was set for Saturday.

“Thank you so much for the love and support, it means a lot,” Gallagher said in a statement to the “There’s nobody I’d rather see my last breath than the people I met here for the last year.”

The Cleveland native made his stand-up debut in 1969 and joined the Melvins, his band, in 1972 to which he and drummer Bobby Blunt added bassist John K. Samson. The band released its self-titled debut album in 1976.

Gallagher went on to lead his own band, which gained notoriety as a heavy metal band with the addition of guitarists and drummers, who became known for their large and imposing presence on stage. The band was known for its long, extended jam pieces.

The band was known for its music videos, playing a song and then jamming for an additional 90 minutes.

Gallagher, of Lakewood, died of pancreatic cancer early Monday and is survived by his wife, two daughters, three granddaughters and one grandson.

“Chris lived an amazing life and his legacy will be carried on by his family and his music fans forever,” the Melvins say in a statement. “He was an American treasure and we will miss him dearly.”

Born Oct. 26, 1944 on a family farm, Gallagher was the youngest of the six children of Robert Gallagher Sr. and Gladys Ann Gallagher. Gallagher graduated from Cleveland High School in 1958 and earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Michigan. He attended Eastern Michigan University on a football scholarship for the basketball team,

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