Comedian and former SNL star Norm MacDonald has passed away after secretly battling his disease for nine years.
The 61-year-old “pure comic” was best known for his wittiness and confrontational sense of humor during his years on the Saturday Night Live show between the years 1993 and 1998.
Besides working as the show’s cast member, MacDonald also starred as the anchor on its Weekend Updates before being dismissed over his straightforward comedic criticism in 1999.
Following six years on the SNL, the comedian secured a series of recurring roles on Mike Tyson Mysteries, The Middle, Skylanders Academy, Sunnyside, and The Orville.
On top of numerous shows, the beloved comedian also appeared in several films including Billy Madison, Dirty Work, The Animal, and Dr. Dolittle.
What most people don’t know, however, is that MacDonald had been privately fighting his cancer diagnosis for the last nine years.
On Tuesday, he succumbed to the unforgiving disease, whereas his death was confirmed by Deadline after the publication received the tragic news from his management team.
“He was most proud of his comedy. He never wanted the diagnosis to affect the way the audience or any of his loved ones saw him,” Lori Jo Hoekstra, MacDonald’s friend and producing partner, told Deadline.
“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 comedian’s death has taken the US and Canada by surprise, whereas various entertainment figures have paid MacDonald a touching tribute since the news broke out.
“To so many people in comedy, me included, there was nobody funnier than Norm MacDonald. You always hoped he would hang around after the work was done, just so you could hear his stories and get a laugh. So hilarious and so generous with his personality. I’m gonna miss him,” Seth MacFarlane expressed.
“Can’t believe Norm MacDonald is dead. First met him in the mid 80s. I thought he was way too funny to be successful. I was half right. My deep sympathy to his family, close friends and his fans. #ripNorm,” Dave Foley added.
Adam Sandler wrote: “Every one of us loved Norm. Some of the hardest laughs of my life with this man. Most fearless funny original guy we knew. An incredible dad. A great friend. A legend. Love u pal.”
Our thoughts are with MacDonald’s family and friends during these challenging times.