Famed stand-up comedian Gilbert Gottfried has died at the age of 67. The actor passed away at 2:35 p.m. ET today after he battled recurrent ventricular tachycardia due to myotonic dystrophy type II.
The comedian’s family confirmed the news in a statement they shared on his Twitter account this afternoon. In their tweet, they wrote: “We are heartbroken to announce the passing of our beloved Gilbert Gottfried after a long illness.
Gottfried’s longtime friend and publicist, Glenn Schwartz, also confirmed the news of the star’s death in a statement. He added that the entertainer, who performed stand-up comedy for over 50 years, became known as “the comedian’s comedian” because he put aside political correctness as he delivers jokes that knew no boundaries.
Besides performing stand-up comedy, Gottfried also garnered attention for his acting roles in such films as ‘Beverly Hills Cop II,’ ‘Problem Child,’ ‘Look Who’s Talking II’ and ‘The Aristocrats.’ He was also the voice of the wisecracking parrot Iago in Disney’s acclaimed animated movie, ‘Aladdin.’
The entertainer also co-hosted the podcast, ‘Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast!’ During the podcast, he and his co-host, Frank Santopadre interviewed Hollywood’s most iconic legends.
The actor’s family described him as “the most iconic voice in comedy.” They also called him a “wonderful husband, brother, friend and father to his two young children.
The tweet from Gottfried’s family concluded: “Although today is a sad day for us all, please keep laughing as loud as possible in Gilbert’s honor.”
Gottfried’s fellow actor, Jason Alexander was among those celebrities who shared his condolences to his family today. “Gilbert Gottfried made me laugh at times when laughter did not come easily. What a gift,” he wrote on Twitter. “I did not know him well but I loved what he shared with me. My best wishes and sympathy to his family. #ripGilbertGottfried“
Santopadre also reflected on Gottfried’s career, calling his humor “brash, shocking and frequently offensive, but the man behind the jokes was anything but.
“Those who loved him and were fortunate enough to share his orbit knew a person who was sweet, sensitive, surprisingly shy and filled with a childlike sense of playfulness and wonder,” Santopadre said in a statement provided by Gottfried’s publicist. “He’ll be dearly missed by family, friends, fans and comedy lovers the world over. To quote Gilbert himself, ‘Too soon!'”
Other celebrities also mourned the comedian on social media, shared fond memories about the late star and embracing the impact he had on their lives.
“I am so sad to read about the passing of Gilbert Gottfried,” Academy Award winner Marlee Matlin wrote on Twitter. “Funny, politically incorrect but a softie on the inside. We met many times; he even pranked me on a plane, replacing my intepreter @655jack (they’re like twins). Sending love to (his widow,) Dara (Kravitz) & his children.”
Brian Koppelman, a co-creator and the showrunner of Showtime’s drama series, ‘Billions,’ which ended its sixth season on Sunday, said Gottfried’s stand-up “changed” him.
“Gilbert Gottfried meant more to me than you probably know,” Koppelman wrote on Twitter. “I have talked about this on my podcast and on his, but when I was 14 I got to see him do stand up, and it changed me. His subversiveness and bravery were unparalleled. And he made you fall down laughing. This sucks.”
Gottfried’s fellow actor-comedian Dane Cook tweeted: “Gottfried was never not funny…He was a lovely guy, always friendly & made many people happy.”
Conan O’Brien tweeted his recollection of seeing Gottfried perform in 1985. “When he entered to applause he said, ‘Thank you, thank you very much.’ He then continued to say ‘thank you’ repeatedly for ten full minutes. It was the nerviest, funniest thing I had seen. So sorry to lose this sweet and delightfully funny man.”
In addition to his wife, Dara, Gottfried is also survived by a daughter, Lily, 14; a son, Max, 12; a sister, Karen; and a nephew, Graham.