Veteran comedian and “Saturday Night Live” alum Norm Macdonald died Tuesday following a nine-year cancer battle that he kept hidden from the public.
Macdonald’s management firm Brillstein Entertainment confirmed the comedian’s death to Deadline. He was 61.
His friend and producing partners, Lori Jo Hoekstra, released a statement saying Macdonald had been privately battling cancer for nine years, but kept his diagnosis private, even from his family.
“He was most proud of his comedy,” Hoekstra said in the statement, first reported by Deadline. “He never wanted the diagnosis to affect the way the audience or any of his loved ones saw him. Norm was a pure comic. He once wrote that `a joke should catch someone by surprise, it should never pander.’ He certainly never pandered. Norm will be missed terribly.”
The Canadian native, known for his deadpan delivery, was a stand-up comic and writer on the sitcom “Roseanne” when he was discovered by “SNL” producer Lorne Michaels. Macdonald was on the show from 1993 to 1998, hosting the variety show’s famed “Weekend Update” news segment.
After being ousted from the show by an NBC executive, Macdonald has his own comedy series, “Norm.” He also co-wrote and starred in the 1998 film “Dirty Work,” playing a down-his-luck man who starts a revenge-for-hire business.
“I was a huge fan of Norm Macdonald and I essentially ripped off his delivery when I first started acting,” actor Seth Rogen wrote on Twitter. “I would stay up specifically to watch him on talk shows. He was the funniest guest of all time. We lost a comedy giant today. One of the all time greats. RIP.”
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