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Gilbert Gottfried, ‘The Most Iconic Voice in Comedy,’ Dies At Age 67

Comedian and actor Gilbert Gottfried has passed away at the age of 67.

Publicist Glenn Schwartz released a statement disclosing that Gottfried died on Tuesday of a rare genetic muscle disease known as recurrent ventricular tachycardia. The illness is known to affect a person’s heartbeat.

Gottfried’s family posted a statement via the late performer’s Twitter account:

“We are heartbroken to announce the passing of our beloved Gilbert Gottfried after a long illness. 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.”

Like any comic worth his salt, Gottfried was naïve about the criticism aimed at his act, which played out as crude content uniquely delivered by a screeching narrator.

Gottfried’s unmistakable vocals paired with his coarse material made him a staple in the stand-up scene in the 1980s.

Throughout his performances, Gottfried deliberately strained his voice to speak in a high-pitched, raspy, New York-style affectation. The schtick quickly became an act of its own.

Then after his footing in comedy took root, Gottfried expanded his horizons and appeared in feature films and on primetime radio alongside Howard Stern. 

From a memorable cameo in Beverly Hills Cop II (1987) to voicing Jafar’s winged consigliere, Iago, in Disney’s Aladdin (1992), Gottfried’s one-of-a-kind act kept him busy in the industry.

Gottfried was an SNL cast member for season six in 1980 and was perhaps best known in the 2000s for voicing the Aflac duck.

Sharp observation and critique of the American zeitgeist led Gottfried to appear on pop culture networks like MTV and VH1.

Gottfried’s persona was always at full throttle, but friends of the comedian shared that he had a reserved side as well.

Late Tuesday, LA’s Laugh Factory posted a farewell message dedicated to Gottfried on their illuminated marquee:

Rest in Peace, make God laugh

Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela

Written by Alejandro Avila

Alejandro Avila lives in Southern California and previously covered news for the LA Football Network. Guided by Kevin Harlan on one shoulder, Eli Manning on the other, Alejandro joins the OutKick community with an authentic passion for sports, pop culture, America, and episodes of Jeopardy!

 

Twitter: @AlejandroAveela

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