Actor and comedian Gilbert Gottfried died Tuesday, his family announced in a Twitter post. "We are heartbroken to announce the passing of our beloved Gilbert Gottfried after a long illness," the post read in part. Gottfried was 67. NBC News reports that he died of recurrent ventricular tachycardia due to myotonic dystrophy type II.
"Although today is a sad day for us all, please keep laughing as loud as possible in Gilbert's honor," his family tweeted.
In addition to performing stand-up comedy since his teen years, Gottfried appeared in numerous movies, including Aladdin, where he voiced the parrot, Iago. He also appeared in Problem Child, Beverly Hills Cop II, Look Who's Talking II, and had a one-season stint on Saturday Night Live. His raspy, iconic voice made him a natural choice to play the role of the Aflac duck for Aflac insurance in commercials, but he was fired from that job in 2011 due to jokes he made about a severe earthquake and tsunami in Japan. He also hosted Gilbert Gottfried's Amazing Colossal Podcast, a weekly podcast focused on Hollywood interviews and history.
Gottfried is survived by his wife, Dara, and two children, Max, 12, and Lily, 14.
Friends and fans mourned Gottfried online.
"Gilbert Gottfried made me laugh at times when laughter did not come easily. What a gift," Seinfeld star Jason Alexander wrote. "I did not know him well but I loved what he shared with me. My best wishes and sympathy to his family."
New York Times writer Dave Itzkoff wrote, "Years ago, Gilbert Gottfried let me visit him at home in NYC. In person he was an unexpectedly gentle guy who loved old showbiz and movie monsters -- almost too shy to sit at a table and listen to his wife tell me the story of how they first met."