Austin passed away after suffering an aneurysm at his home in Fox Island, Washington on 18 June (15), according to the New York Times. He also battled cancer up until the time of his death.

The comedian was best known for playing the role of private investigator Nick Danger for The Firesign Theater comedy troupe, which he co-founded in the 1960s.

Austin started out as a live radio actor in Los Angeles and went on to write, produce and perform on comedy albums and in major venues including Carnegie Hall, Town Hall and the Beacon Theater in New York.

In addition to his radio work, Austin provided voice-overs for commercials and released an audiobook, Tales of the Old Detective and Other Big Fat Lies.