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Tempe comedy club’s owner death stuns friend

Three weeks after he went missing, Tempe Improv owner, Mark Anderson turned up dead in a Buckeye motel, and leaving behind heartbroken family and friends.

Buckeye police said a housekeeper found the 60-year-old comedy club owner’s body Wednesday in a Days Inn room off Interstate 10 and Miller Road.

No cause of death has been released.

Last week, the Tempe Improv — one of several comedy clubs Anderson owned across the country — closed. His promotions manager, Tony Vicich, told KTAR the club’s closure was not a shock, however Anderson’s death certainly was.

“Was he sad and distressed? He certainly was, but, this is what’s so heartbreaking, is Mark Anderson whenever there was a problem would go, ‘All right, here’s the good news and here’s how we’re going to move forward,’ ” recalls Vicich, “In the last few months, I started hearing that less and less.”

The Improv in Washington, which Anderson also owned, posted on Facebook Thursday:

“We are deeply saddened about the news of fellow owner and friend, Mark Anderson passing. Mark opened The DC Improv in 1992 and we would not be where we are today without him. Our love and condolences go out to all those who were lucky enough to know Mark. He will be missed R.I.P.”

Anderson had taken Vicich to dinner to discuss closing the Tempe club and opening a new venue.

“What we’re really losing is what he would have done next,” said Vicich. “He had plans to do other great things.”

Vicich acknowledged that Anderson had financial and business disagreements with other business partners, but that was Vicich will continue to champion Valley comedy with his friend’s vision in mind.

An autopsy is expected on Friday.