Actor and comedian Gilbert Gottfried, whose shrill voice caught the attention of his early stand-up audiences and moviegoers, has died at the age of 67, according to his family.
"We are heartbroken to announce the passing of our beloved Gilbert Gottfried after a long illness," his family wrote Tuesday in a statement shared on his verified Twitter account.
Gottfried, who had been living in South Florida for the past few years, made a name for himself with his piercing voice and often crude humor.
His family described Gottfried as the "most iconic voice in comedy" and said he was a "wonderful husband, brother, friend and father to his two young children."
Glenn Schwartz, Gottfried's longtime friend and publicist, told NBC News that Gottfried died Tuesday afternoon from recurrent ventricular tachycardia due to myotonic dystrophy type II.
Gottfried spoke with WPTV as recently as January after the death of Bob Saget, his friend and fellow comedian, in Orlando.
"I thought, 'Oh, it's a sick joke,' and I was waiting for the punchline," Gottfried told WPTV's Tania Rogers, recalling when he learned of Saget's death.
Comedian Gilbert Gottfried shocked by Bob Saget's death Gottfried had been scheduled to perform at the Palm Beach Kennel Club's Paddock Restaurant on May 13.
The Brooklyn-born stand-up comedian had been a fixture of the New York comedy club scene in the 1970s, but his chance to catapult into the mainstream came in 1980,
When he joined the cast of NBC's "Saturday Night Live" for its sixth season. Instead, Gottfried's impressions (of film director Roman Polanski and former U.S. Rep. David A Stockman, R-Mich.)
And lone recurring character (Leo Waxman on the talk show sketch, "What's It All About?") never took off, and he was fired after just one season.
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