Brad William Henke, best known for his role as the prison guard Desi Piscatella on the Netflix hit series Orange Is the New Black, has died at age 56.
The talented actor was an NFL player before his repeated injuries led him to a career in acting.
For his role in OITNB, he won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series in 2016.
During his acting career, he appeared in several movies and television series including, ER, Dexter, Split, Bright, Lost, Justified, The Office, Sneaky Pete, and MacGyver.
His death was confirmed by his manager Matt DelPiano in a statement to E! News.
Matt said, “Brad was an incredibly kind man of joyous energy. A very talented actor, he loved being a part of this community….and we loved him back. Our thoughts are with his wife and family.”
Henke reportedly died in his sleep. His cause of death has not been revealed.
In an Instagram post in May 2021, Brad was in a hospitable bed and stated that he had a 90 percent block of his arteries and could have had a heart attack at any time before his surgery.
He encouraged his followers to get their yearly check-ups while expressing gratitude for being alive.
His most recent post was in August in which he said he was practicing jiu-jitsu in his garage before announcing a social media break.
His death appears to be unexpected as he was still working on projects when he suddenly passed away.
He recently starred in the 2022 comedy movie Block Party and appeared on an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
The late actor will appear in the upcoming thriller The Ray which is in post-production.
Tributes pour in for Brad William Henke
Tributes have poured in for Henke following his unexpected death. Politician Dave Cavell praised his acting talent and character in a tweet reacting to his death.
“So sad. I know from my brother Brad Henke was an incredible actor on shows like @JustifiedFX and a genuinely sweet, caring, and thoughtful person. May his memory be a blessing.”
Natasha Lyonne, who played Nicky Nichols on Orange is the New Black, took to her Instagram Story to remember Henke.
Another co-star Tamara Torres, who portrayed the Weeping Woman on OITNB, shared a photo with Brad with other cast members, describing him as a “great guy.”
OITNB casting director Jen Euston expressed shock following his death with a tribute on Twitter.
Jen wrote, “this is a shock. rest well, Brad. ? thank you for all the work you contributed on OITNB. you will not be forgotten.”
Was Brande Henke married or have any children?
Henke was married to actress Katelin Chesna before divorcing in 2008.
He later married Sonja with whom he had a stepson Aaden and a stepdaughter Leasa. He is also survived by a grandchild named Amirah.