Gilbert Gottfried's cause of death revealed as rare genetic muscle disease
Comedian and actor Gilbert Gottfried's cause of death has been revealed as a rare genetic muscle disease that affects the heart, his longtime friend and publicist Glenn Schwartz confirmed. He was 67.
The legendary comic died Tuesday from recurrent ventricular tachycardia due to myotonic dystrophy type II, described as an inherited dystrophy that affects the muscles and other systems, which could result in an abnormal heartbeat, according to the Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center.
Gottfried's family announced his passing on social media: "In addition to being the most iconic voice in comedy, Gilbert was a wonderful husband, brother, friend, and father to his two young children," the statement read. "Although today is a sad day for all of us, please keep laughing as loud as possible in Gilbert's honor."
Tributes to the late comedian have since poured in. Jon Stewart, Kathy Griffin, and George Takei were among the Hollywood stars and comics that remembered the "groundbreaking" and "legendary" star. Jason Alexander, who starred in a memorable episode of Hollywood Squares with Gottfried, remembered him as someone who made him laugh "at times when laughter did not come easily."
Gottfried began his career in comedy clubs around New York City at the age of 15 before briefly joining the cast of Saturday Night Live in 1980. He's appeared on Late Night with David Letterman, and The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, as well as sitcoms The Cosby Show, A Different World, and Married... With Children. Film credits include Beverly Hills Cop II, Problem Child, and The Aristocrats. He also did memorable voiceover work for animated titles, including the 1992 film Aladdin and 2002 series Cyberchase.
The comedian is survived by his wife Dara Kravitz and their two children, Lily and Max, along with his sister Karen and nephew Graham.