‘Orange Is The New Black’ star, Brad Henke, dead at 56

Credit: @bradwilliamhenke via Instagram

It has been sadly reported that actor and former NFL football player, Brad William Henke, has died at the age of 56. 

Henke had unfortunately passed away in his sleep on 29th November, however, no cause of death has been disclosed. 

Before starring in the famed series, ‘Orange Is The Black’, Henke was a professional NFL player, formerly drafted for the New York Giants and playing for the Denver Broncos in 1989; even taking on defensive line for the latter against the San Francisco 49ers in the 1989 Super Bowl. 

After repeated injuries, that resulted in six ankle surgeries, Henke had officially retired from professional football in 1994. He then moved to Los Angeles, to pursue acting, starting with commercials. Later, he started responding to calls for “big guys”, appearing in shows such as ‘ER’ , ‘Nash Bridges’ and ‘Chicago Hope’. 

He went on to star in other popular shows such as ‘CSI: Miami’, ‘Bones’ and ‘Lost’ and movies such as ‘Split’ and ‘Pacific Rim’. 

He then eventually gained his biggest role, Desi Piscatella, a gay police officer at ‘Litchfield Federal Penitentiary’, known for his immoral and sociopathic behaviour. This role garnered him, and his fellow castmates, the ‘Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series’ in 2016. 

In a statement to TMZ, his manager, Matt DelPiano 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 is survived by his mother Tammy, sister Annette, wife Sonja, stepson Aaden, stepdaughter Leasa and grandchild Amirah. 

Words: Shakira Bruce-Abubakar | Subbing: Anna Kamocsai

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