A STAND-UP comedian has died on-stage during a performance in Bicester.

Ian Cognito was peforming at The Atic bar when audience members said he fell silent after he "sat on a chair and laid back for five minutes".

The audience thought his silence was part of the act and continued to laugh, failing to acknowledge that he had died.

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South Central Ambulance pronounced Mr Cognito as dead at the scene.

An audience member, John Ostojak, said: "We thought it was part of the act. We came out feeling really sick, we just sat there for five minutes watching him, laughing at him."

Staff attempted to save his life by performing chest compressions and asked the audience to leave while they waited for help to arrive.

The comedian, whose real name was Paul Barbieri, was born in London in the late 1950s.

He was well respected in the comedy community.

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Fellow comedians have paid tribute to Mr Cognito on Twitter including Jimmy Carr who said: "I’ll never forget his kindness when I started out & how God damn funny he was."

The veteran comedian was based in Bristol and won the Time Out award for stand-up comedy in 1999.