Gilbert Gottfried died at on Tuesday April 12, after a battle with Recurrent Ventricular Tachycardia brought on by Myotonic Dystrophy type II, according to his publicist. He was 67-years-old. His family released a statement mourning his loss. “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,” the family said in a statement.
— Gilbert Gottfried (@RealGilbert) April 12, 2022
While Gilbert’s death is a major loss for the comedy community and his fans worldwide, his family asked for fans to remember him for his good sense of humor. “Although today is a sad day for all of us, please keep laughing as loud as possible in Gilbert’s honor,” the statement concluded. Gilbert is survived by his wife of 15 years Dara Kravitz as well as his son Max and daughter Lily.
Gilbert began his career as a standup comedian as a teenager. He was well-known for his distinctive on-stage persona, which consisted of him squinting and performing in a distinctive, screeching and squawking voice. Other than his trademark squawking voice, he was also well-known for his often-raunchy and occasionally poorly-timed jokes, like when he made a quip making light of the 9/11 terrorist attacks just weeks after the tragedy during the Friar’s Club Roast of Hugh Hefner. He reflected on the moment in 2016 piece for Vulture. “I just wanted to be the first person to make a really-poor-taste joke about September 11,” he wrote. “I don’t think anyone’s lost an audience bigger than I did at that point. They were booing and hissing.” Gilbert’s off-color material made him a perfect talent for various roasts over the years. Besides the Playboy founder’s, he also roasted future President Donald Trump and actor David Hasselhoff as well as his fellow comedians Bob Saget, Joan Rivers, and Roseanne Bar.
Other than his standup comedy, Gilbert was also an actor, appearing in a number of movies and TV shows over the years. One of his biggest early roles came when he was cast on Saturday Night Live in 1980, but he only lasted twelve episodes. After SNL, he also appeared in comedies like Problem Child and Beverly Hills Cop II. His most well-known performance though came in 1992, when he voiced the parrot Iago in Disney’s Aladdin. To a number of fans, he’ll always be the squawking parrot. He went on to offer his voice to a number of children’s series, including Cyberchase and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
While he earned fame in the TV and movie worlds, Gilbert was still well-regarded for his standup abilities. He was the subject of a 2017 documentary about his life, and he also hosted his own podcast called Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast. One of his more recently filmed comedy appearances was alongside his friends Jeff Ross and Dave Attell for their 2018 Netflix special Bumping Mics.