Las Vegas legend Danny Gans passes away

May 1, 2009 9:11 PM
by Monti Rock III |

Today comes the sad news that our beloved entertainer of the years - Danny Gans - passed away early this morning at 3:45am.

He awoke and couldn't breathe -- by the time the paramedics arrived, Danny was pronounced dead at the young age of 52.

Gans leaves behind a legacy in Las Vegas, starting at the Stratosphere, then to the Rio -- the Mirage and currently, Steve Wynn's Encore.

He leaves behind his devoted wife, three children and multitudes of heartbroken fans, supporters and family.

Danny was always a gentleman to this columnist. His manager for 18 years, Chip Lightman, will release further information about this sudden tragedy to the Las Vegas community. An entertainer's entertainer -- we will all miss you, Danny!

UPDATE: 12:41 p.m.: Wynn Resorts sent over the following release:

Las Vegas legend Danny Gans, headliner at Encore at Wynn Las Vegas, passed away last night at his home in Henderson, Nevada. He was 52 years old. At this time, his cause of death is unknown.

Steve Wynn commented: "Elaine and I and all of us in the Company are devastated at the loss of our brilliant, talented and loving friend. One of the most unique human beings and entertainers in the world has been taken from us in an unexpected moment. A profoundly tragic event that leaves us all sad and speechless. The loss of Danny to his wife Julie, his children Amy, Andrew and Emily is at this moment impossible to comprehend. We will all try to go on with our lives without our dear friend. At this moment it seems almost impossible."

Known as the Man of Many Voices, Gans was named Entertainer of the Year for 12 years in a row in Las Vegas. On top of his record-breaking crowds and consistently sold out shows, Gans has been showered with accolades and awards throughout his performing career.

In February of 2009, Gans debuted his award-winning show at the new Encore Theater. Prior to his engagement at Encore, Gans spent eight years performing in his own 1,250-seat theater at the Mirage, which Steve Wynn originally built for Gans.

Gans began performing in Las Vegas at The Stratosphere and The Rio after 15 years traveling throughout the U.S., working at his craft and perfecting his repertoire of impressions. He became one of the most sought-after performers in the prestigious corporate world, often playing to stadium-sized crowds for major, international companies such as IBM and McDonald's, and was the favorite of the Fortune 500 list.

In 1995 Danny was starring on Broadway in his one-man show and performing 200 concert dates a year. When the opportunity presented itself, Gans chose to move his show to Las Vegas where he could settle down to a life with his family.

Gans hadn't planned to be an entertainer. His boyhood dream was to play third base for the Los Angeles Dodgers and, after high school, he was drafted by the Kansas City Royals. The Chicago White Sox drafted Gans after college, where he was an All American at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Two years later, his life-long dream came true as he signed that contract and went to the minor leagues to start his career as a professional athlete. Not long after, a career-ending injury turned his life upside-down.

With love and encouragement from his friends and family, Gans shifted his focus from baseball to entertainment. He was blessed with a marvelous singing voice, the ability to make people laugh and a rare presence that would manifest itself throughout his career.

Danny Gans' Manager Chip Lightman commented: "Danny Gans will not only be remembered as a Las Vegas entertainer, but as a man who loved his family, loved God and loved the city of Las Vegas. Danny has been my partner and dear friend for over 18 years. I will truly miss him. My thoughts and prayers go out to his wife of 28 years, Julie, and his three children, Amy, Andrew and Emily."

Question? Comment? E-mail me at: Monti Rock