Gilbert Gottfried, iconic comedian, dies at 67 after long illness

Comedian Gilbert Gottfried has died at age 67, according to his family.

“We are heartbroken to announce the passing of our beloved Gilbert Gottfried after a long illness,” his family wrote in a statement shared to his Twitter account.

Gottfried died at 2:35 pm ET on Tuesday from Recurrent Ventricular Tachycardia due to Myotonic Dystrophy type II, according to Glenn Schwartz, his longtime friend and publicist.

Gottfried, who has been performing stand-up comedy for over 50 years, became known as “the comedian’s comedian” “because his live performances put aside political correctness while he delivers jokes that know no boundaries,” his representative said in a statement.

His comedic career led to roles in films including “Beverly Hills Cop II,” “Problem Child,” “Look Who’s Talking II” and “The Aristocrats.” He was also the voice of the wise cracking parrot Iago in Disney’s iconic animated film “Aladdin.”

More recently, in 2017, he was the subject of the documentary “Gilbert,” about his life. He also co-hosted a podcast, “Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast!”, where he and Frank Santopadre interviewed Hollywood icons and legends.

His family described him as “the most iconic voice in comedy” as well as a “wonderful husband, brother, friend and father to his two young children.”

“Although today is a sad day for us all, please keep laughing as loud as possible in Gilbert’s honor,” his family wrote.

Actor Jason Alexander was among those who shared his condolences on Tuesday.

“Gilbert Gottfried made me laugh at times when laughter did not come easily. What a gift,” he wrote in a tweet. “I did not know him well but I loved what he shared with me. My best wishes and sympathy to his family. #ripGilbertGottfried

Santopadre described Gottfried’s humor as “brash, shocking and frequently offensive, but the man behind the jokes was anything but.”

“Those who loved and him 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 via Gottfried’s publicist. “He’ll be dearly missed by family, friends, fans and comedylovers the world over. To quote Gilbert himself, ‘Too soon!'”

Other celebrities also mourned Gottfried on social media, sharing fond memories they had with him and 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 in a tweet.Funny, politically incorrect but a softie on the inside. We met many times; he even pranked me on a plane, replacing my interpreter @655jack (they’re like twins). Sending love to Dara & his children.”

Brian Koppelman, “Billions” co-creator and showrunner, said Gottfried’s stand up “changed” him.

“Gilbert Gottfried meant more to me than you probably know,” hey wrote in a tweet. “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. “

Comedian Dane Cook said “Gottfried was never not funny.”

“He was a lovely guy, always friendly & made many people happy,” Cook wrote in a tweet.

Conan 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 full minutes,” O’Brien tweeted. “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.

Amanda Sidman contributed.

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