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10th Jun 2023

Breaking Bad star Mike Batayeh dies aged 52 after suffering heart attack in his sleep

Steve Hopkins

‘A devastating loss of a huge life – Mike Batayah, you were everybody’s friend’

Breaking Bad actor Mike Batayeh had died age 52.

The actor passed away on June 1 from a heart attack while sleeping at his home in Michigan.

He did not have a history of heart issues, his sister had told to TMZ, making his death even more of a shock for his loved ones.

His family has announced his funeral service will take place at a local funeral home on June 18, with the service continuing at a church the following day.

Batayeh, who is of Arab heritage, grew up in a diverse neighbourhood in Detroit but moved to LA in his 20s to pursue acting.

He played the manager of a laundromat fronting a meth lab, in an award-winning show, Breaking Bad, across three episodes between 2011 and 2012.

Batayeh also appeared in TV shows Boy Meets World (1998), CSI: Miami (2006) and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (2013). Moving across to movies, he clinched roles in Don’t Mess with the Zohan (2008) and Detroit Unleaded (2012), where he took the main lead.

He also landed a voice acting stint in the film X-men: Days of Future Past (2014).

Batayeh was also a successful comedian and was one of the first American comics to perform in the Middle East.

The performer’s sister said in an Instagram post that her brother “will be greatly missed by those who loved him and his great ability to bring laughter and joy to so many”.

The post read: “It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that my sisters and I announce the passing of our dear brother @Mike Batayeh on Thursday June 1 2023. He will be greatly missed by those who loved him and his great ability to bring laughter and joy to so many. Funeral arrangements will be posted at a later date.”

Director and friend Rola Nashef – who worked alongside Batayeh on 2012 rom-com Detroit Unleaded – posted a tribute to the late actor on Facebook., writing: “A devastating loss of a huge life – Mike Batayah, you were everybody’s friend. And I mean everybody. There isn’t a person that I introduced you to or a waitress that took our order whom you didn’t make laugh, think, inspire and root for. You wanted to see us all win.

“I still can’t believe this news. People keep saying, ‘But I just talked to him last week’ – not text or messaged with him, but talked with him. Because you are an old-school friend, who was loyal, generous, wise and invested in the people that you loved.

“Amin Matalqa referred to you as the ‘Robin Williams’ of Arab-America – so spot on. Your sense of humour and your talent for stage, screenwriting, television and film was genius, outrageous and fearless. I pray so much for your sisters, nephews, nieces, cousins and our entire community who will feel your loss forever. Rest in peace dear Mike, you’re my friend always.”

Fans of the comedian have also paid tribute to him on social media.

One Instagram user commented on his last post: “Never got a chance to work with u Western cowboy but we reppin our city hard as ever… u ain’t never gone when u left ur spirit on everyone u wit the ancestors now fighting for us.”

“Will miss you so much! Heartbroken I’m glad that we had the chance to meet and wish I knew you more. Praying for your family,” another wrote.

Batayeh is survived by his five sisters along with nieces and nephews.

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