Although he had been battling a rare disease for a long time, Gilbert Gottfried's death at age 67 this week seemed sudden to most of the world. The iconic actor and oft-controversial comedian was known for his acerbic tongue on stage - and his kind heart off-stage. In the wake of his passing, dozens of celebrities have shared memories and lamentations of the actor's life and their relationships with him. Here's what celebrities are saying about the passing of one of comedy's most well-known voices, and a peek at the disease that took his life too soon.
Celebs Remember Gottfried
It's only been a few days since the passing of the legendary Gottfried, and already the world seems a little more empty. Fans and friends left stunned after his passing are starting to gather their thoughts and think about how he touched their lives as they look back at 67 years of talent and sometimes - a little bit of controversy. Here are some of Gottfried's celeb pals and admirers and their thoughts on his passing:
- Jon Stewart: Comedian and late night host Stewart shared, per E! News, "Comedian Jon Stewart added that Gilbert was 'one of the great thrills of my early stand up life' after opening for him at Carolines and Catch A Rising Star comedy clubs. He continued, 'He could leave you gasping for breath…just indescribably unusually hilarious…Damn.'"
- Seth McFarlane: The comedian, actor and show creator wrote on Twitter, "Gilbert Gottfried made me laugh so hard that day on set, I could barely do my job. A wholly original comic, and an equally kind and humble guy behind the scenes. He will be missed."
- Mark Hamill: The Star Wars superstar shared, "He was a unique voice in comedy on so many levels. Unpredictable, one-of-a-kind, hilarious & irreplaceable! Thank you for the lifetime of laughs, sir."
- Jason Alexander: The comedian and actor wrote on Twitter, "Gilbert Gottfried made me laugh at times when laughter did not come easily. 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."
Other celebrities shared:
- Viola Davis: The actress and producer wrote, "Oh!! What a unique and awesome comedian, actor you were! Always captured my attention. Rest well!❤️"
- Meghan McCain: Author, tv personality and daughter of former Senator John McCain, Meghan wrote, "I really love Gilbert Gottfried's comedy and documentary on his life and - I really wish God would stop taking all the people who make us laugh and happy. Way too young, way too soon. Love and light to his family and loved ones"
Whatever his persona on stage as crass, controversial, and often offensive - it's clear that the person behind the comedy was a completely different story. Many fans recall how kind and gentle he was, always happy to take a moment to meet a fan and say a kind word. Friends remember his generosity and patience. Gottfried's death was a tragedy for his family, but comedy has also lost someone who pushed boundaries and kept the industry moving forward; he will be dearly missed.
About Myonic Dystrophy Type 2 and Ventricular Tachycardia
The disease that took Gottfried from loved ones is a rare one, and in the wake of his passing people have been curious about how it progresses.
Gottfried died from ventricular tachycardia, a complication of his long battle with a disease known as Myotonic Dystrophy Type II.
Here's what the NIH has to say about Myotonic Dystrophy Type II:
- "Myotonic dystrophy is a disease that affects the muscles and other body systems. It is the most common form of muscular dystrophy that begins in adulthood, usually in a person’s 20s or 30s. This disease is characterized by progressive muscle loss and weakness. Myotonic dystrophy may be further classified into two types, and the two types may affect different muscles. People with myotonic dystrophy usually have prolonged muscle tensing (myotonia) and are not able to relax certain muscles after use. The severity of the disease may vary among affected people, even among members of the same family.
- Signs and symptoms of myotonic dystrophy often begin in a person’s 20s or 30s but can begin at any age. Symptoms often include progressive muscle weakness, stiffness, tightness, and wasting. There are two types of myotonic dystrophy: myotonic dystrophy type 1 and myotonic dystrophy type 2. The symptoms in people with myotonic dystrophy type 2 tend to be milder than in those with type 1, but the symptoms may overlap. People with myotonic dystrophy type 1 typically experience involvement of the legs, hands, neck, and face, while people with myotonic dystrophy type 2 typically experience involvement of the neck, shoulders, elbows, and hips. The severity of symptoms can vary widely among affected people."
Other symptoms can include cataracts, type-2 diabetes, and cardiac conduction defects (irregular electrical control of the heartbeat), infertility and baldness.
The complication that took Gottfried's life was ventricular tachycardia, a fatal arrythmia of the heart.
CBS News writes, "'In addition to being the most iconic voice in comedy, Gilbert was a wonderful husband, brother, friend and father to his two young children. Although today is a sad day for all of us, please keep laughing as loud as possible in Gilbert's honor,' his family said in a statement posted on Twitter."