The iconic comedian Gilbert Gottfried died this afternoon, according to his family.
He was 67. “We are heartbroken to announce the passing of our beloved Gilbert Gottfried after a long illness,” wrote his family in a statement shared on the actor’s Twitter account.
Gottfried who is perhaps best known for his role in Aladdin, died at 2.35 pm today from Recurrent Ventricular Tachycardia due to Myotonic Dystrophy Type II, according to Glenn Schwarts, Gottfried’s longtime friend, and publicist.
Gottfried has been performing stand-up comedy for over 50 years and became known as “the comedian’s comedian” because his love performances put aside political correctness while he delivers jokes that know no boundaries, his representative said in a statement.
His comedic career included roles in films such as “Beverly Hills Cop II”, “Problem Child,” “Look Who’s Talking II” and “The Aristocats.” He also provided the voice of the wise-cracking parrot Iago in the Disney film “Aladdin.”
In 2017, he was the subject of a documentary detailing his life called “Gilbert.” He also co-hosted a podcast, “Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast” with Frank Santopadre where the two interviewed Hollywood icons.
His family described him as “the most iconic voice in comedy” and a “wonderful husband, brother, friend, and father to his two young children.” His family also wrote, “although today is a sad day for us all, please keep laughing as loud as possible in Gilbert’s honour.”
Actor Jason Alexander and Late Night Host Conan O’Brien both paid tribute to Gottfried on Twitter. “Gilbert Gottfried made me laugh at times when laughter did not come easy. What a gift. I did not know him well, but I loved what he shared with me. My best wishes and sympathy to his family,” said Alexander.
O’Brien recalled 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 minutes. It was the nerviest, funniest thing I had seen. So sorry to lose this sweet and delightfully funny man.” Gottfried is survived by his wife Dara, daughter Lily, 14, son Max, 12, sister Karen and nephew Graham.