LOS ANGELES (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Comedian and actor Gilbert Gottfried has died, his family announced on his official Twitter account.
Publicist and longtime friend Glenn Schwartz told The Associated Press that Gottfried “died from recurrent ventricular tachycardia due to myotonic dystrophy type II, a disorder that affects the heart.”
“We are heartbroken to announce the passing of our beloved Gilbert Gottfried after a long illness,” his family wrote on Twitter, “In addition to being the most iconic voice in comedy, Gilbert was a wonderful husband, brother, friend and father to his two young children.”
Gottfried is best known for his distinctive voice and his emphasis on crude humor. He was a character actor in numerous roles in movies and television, including the parrot Lago in Disney’s “Aladdin,” and as Digit LeBoid in the PBS Kids show “Cyberchase.”
Gottfried’s early breakthrough roles came from appearances on MTV, a short stint on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” and as business manager Sidney Bernstein in the Eddie Murphy feature “Beverly Hills Cop II.”
Gottfried was also well known as the voice of the Aflac duck in a series of commercials for the insurance company until 2011.
Known as a ‘comedian’s comedian,’ Andrew Dalton with the AP described Gottfried’s comedy as ‘fiercely independent and intentionally bizarre… as likely to clear a room with anti-comedy as he was to kill with his jokes.”
In a statement, Gottfried’s friend and podcast co-host Frank Santopadre told the AP, “Gilbert’s brand of humor was 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.”
Gottfried was good friends with fellow comedians Bob Saget and Louie Anderson, both of whom had passed away in recent months. In January, Gottfried posted to Twitter a photo of the trio with the caption, “This photo is very sad now. RIP Bob Saget and RIP Louie Anderson. Both good friends that will be missed.”
Gottfried was 67 years old.