Aladdin star Gilbert Gottfried, the legendary stand-up comic known for his raw, scorched voice and crude jokes, has died. He was 67.
New York-raised Gottfried first came to fame with frequent appearances on MTV in its early days and with a brief stint in the cast of Saturday Night Live in the 1980s.
He also did frequent voice work for children’s television and movies, most famously playing the parrot Iago in Disney’s Aladdin.
“Gilbert’s brand of humour was brash, shocking and frequently offensive, but the man behind the jokes was anything but,” friend and podcast co-host Frank Santopadre said in a statement.
“Those who loved and him were fortunate enough to share his orbit knew a person who was sweet, sensitive, surprisingly shy and filled with a childlike sense of playfulness and wonder.”
Gottfried died from recurrent ventricular tachycardia due to myotonic dystrophy type II, a disorder that affects the heart, his publicist and long-time friend Glenn Schwartz said in a statement.
His family also released a statement, noting the comedian died 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,” they said.
“Although today is a sad day for all of us, please keep laughing as loud as possible in Gilbert’s honour.”
Gottfried was a fiercely independent and intentionally bizarre comedian’s comedian, as likely to clear a room with anti-comedy as he was to kill with his jokes.
He was particularly fond of doing obscure and dated impressions, including Groucho Marx, Bela Lugosi and Andrew “Dice” Clay.
In his early days at Hollywood club the Comedy Store, managers would get him to do his impression of then-little-known Jerry Seinfeld at the end of the night to get rid of lingering patrons.