Harold Ramis had died at the age of 69. The writer, director, and actor died early this morning from complications of an autoimmune disease. From The Chicago Tribune:
Ramis, a longtime North Shore [Chicago] resident, was surrounded by family when he died at 12:53 a.m. from complications of autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, a rare disease that involves swelling of the blood vessels, his wife Erica Mann Ramis said. He was 69 ... Ramis’ serious health struggles began in May 2010 with an infection that led to complications related to the autoimmune disease, his wife said. Ramis had to relearn to walk but suffered a relapse of the vaculitis in late 2011.
Ramis was best known for writing and directing comedy classics like Caddyshack and Groundhog Day, and for writing and acting in Ghostbusters and Stripes. He was a performer with the Second City comedy troupe and the first head writer for SCTV.
There was an already-planned Ghostbusters shout-out during the Academy Awards this Sunday, as part of the show's tribute to cinematic heroes, and with Ramis' death, his legacy is sure to be featured. Ramis had an undoubted influence on contemporary comedy:
No Harold Ramis, no comedy as we know it today. #RIPHaroldRamis— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) February 24, 2014
Was honored to have gotten to work with Harold Ramis, the Buddha of Comedy. Brilliant, humble, radiant. We've lost an icon. #GroundhogDay— RainnWilson (@rainnwilson) February 24, 2014
Harold Ramis directed The Office Christmas episode S3, and it was so good we just made it an hour long so we wouldn't have to cut anything.— Ken Tremendous (@KenTremendous) February 24, 2014
Here's a clip of Ramis discussing his career a few years ago: