Legendary comedian David Brenner has died at the age of 78 ... and he went out with a joke.
Brenner's rep says David passed away peacefully Saturday evening at his NYC home surrounded by family.
As we previously reported ... Brenner slipped into a coma this week after his cancer got aggressive and started spreading rapidly.
D.B. holds the record for most "Tonight Show" appearances with 158 couch sessions. He also hosted the show a handful of times.
We're told David had one final request -- $100 in small bills be placed in his sock -- and said it was "just in case tipping is recommended where I'm going."
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