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Matthew Price was a 27-year-old magician and comedian who left Fort Myers to pursue his dreams in Los Angeles, where they tragically ended.
“He didn’t stray from his dream, no matter the circumstances, because he knew what he wanted to do and he did,” said Danuta Richey, Price’s mother.
He was robbed and killed on November 21 while on a routine drive to a grocery store near his home, relatives said.
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Price was known on TikTok with more than 2 million views of his videos and more than 145,000 followers.
He grew up in Fort Myers and attended Lehigh Senior High School before embarking on his comedy magic career.
“He was about 7 years old when an uncle showed him a silly magic trick that piqued Matthew’s interest,” said Richey.
She said her son was naturally funny and that he fused comedy and magic when he started performing on the street in Fort Myers Beach at 16.
“He found his calling doing all of this because between the comedy clubs and other venues and the street magic he really came to his own and he loved it,” said Richey.
From there he began to make himself known to comedians and other actors.
Christopher Cowles, former host of Laugh In Comedy Cafe, helped a 16-year-old Price onto the stage.
“He was great with crowds and he had the personality, the looks and the enthusiasm,” said Cowles.
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Cowles, a comedian for 30 years, saw potential in the boy because Price had a strong desire to see people laugh and smile.
“He used to write me a new joke that he was working on and we tweaked it a bit,” said Cowles.
He was heartbroken when he heard of Price’s death.
“He had his whole career and his whole life ahead of him,” said Cowles. “He could have brought so much more joy and entertainment to the people of this world.”
Price moved to Los Angeles in May 2016 to make it big.
He started using platforms like TikTok to promote himself and do skits and comedy videos, as well as starring in comedy shows.
Even something as big as the pandemic shutting down live performances wouldn’t stop him, according to Richey.
“I asked him to go home and take a break and he said, ‘No Mom. I can’t grow up in Fort Myers, but I can grow up in LA,'” said Richey.
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It was then that Price’s mother realized that her son would definitely follow his dreams.
“He wants everyone to know they lived their dream, and he wishes more people to do the same because, as we just found out, life is very fragile,” said Richey.
Los Angeles police reported that Pacific Division officers responded to a paging of a body found on Venice Boulevard and Wasatch Avenue. They found a male adult victim who did not respond.
The Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics responded and pronounced him dead at the scene.
The Los Angeles County medical examiner later confirmed Price as a victim.
LAP West Bureau homicide detectives seek public support in identifying the suspect (s). The LAPD urged that the West Bureau homicide investigators be called at (213) 382-9470.
There will be no public memorial service in Lee County, but Price’s family and friends will have a private memorial service once his body is returned to Fort Myers.
“I’m very proud of my son, I’ll miss him until I die, but I know he’s fine where he is and he’s our angel,” said Richey.
News press reporter Michael Braun contributed to this report.