Brad William Henke, who was best known for his role on Orange Is the New Black, has died at 56.

His manager issued a statement confirming the news.

“Brad Henke 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,” Matt DelPiano wrote. “Our thoughts are with his wife and family.”

Henke reportedly died in his sleep, but the cause of death is unknown.


Henke played college football at the University of Arizona and went on to be drafted by the New York Giants in the 1989 NFL Draft. He won a Super Bowl with the Denver Broncos but retired due to injuries in 1994. He wanted to stay in football and transition over to coaching, so he moved to L.A. Instead, he ended up landing an acting role in 1996. He went on to star in shows such as Nikki, Lost, CSI, Law & Order: SVU, but his breakthrough role was as gay prison guard Desi Piscatella in Orange Is the New Black. He was recognized at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards for “Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series” for his portrayal.

He is survived by his mother, sister, wife, stepdaughter and stepson and one grandchild.

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