In a post on Twitter today, the performer’s family confirmed that he passed away at the age of 67:
“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. Although today is a sad day for all of us, please keep laughing as loud as possible in Gilbert’s honor.”
Gottfried is one of those comics who transcended one individual claim to fame and could be known for different things depending on your generation. For many years, he was known as a trailblazer in stand-up comedy, someone who would tell any joke regardless of how edgy and offensive it was. He was very much of the belief that laughter is healing, no matter the instance or circumstance. For those who grew up in the nineties, he’s probably best known for voicing Iago the Parrot in Aladdin, who he also voiced in the Kingdom Hearts series of video games. He was also for some time the iconic voice of the Aflac duck until he was fired from the role in 2011 after (you guessed it) a series of jokes deemed to be in poor taste.
One of the best memories we have of Gottfried is ironically one of the more wholesome ones: A stint he did on Hollywood Squares, where he repeatedly trolled contestants for several minutes as they tried to score the coveted five-square victory.
Ironically, away from his notoriously-loud comedy act Gottfried was known for being quiet and thoughtful, and his love of old movies is something he often discussed in podcast form. He cared deeply about the history of show business and relished his role in it.
Our thoughts go out to Gilbert’s family and loved ones during what has to be an incredibly difficult time. May he rest in peace and laughter. (Photo: NBC.)