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Sept. 14, 2021, 4:08 p.m. EDT

Comedian Norm Macdonald has died after a ‘long and private battle with cancer’

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By Nicole Lyn Pesce

This weekday update just broke a lot of hearts. 

Comedian and former “Saturday Night Live: Weekend Update” host Norm Macdonald has passed away following a nine-year battle with cancer that he kept private, Deadline reports

Macdonald’s management company Brillstein Entertainment told the news outlet that Macdonald, 61, died on Tuesday. His friend and producing partner Lori Jo Hoekstra was with him, and explained that the comic had wanted to keep his health struggles away from his friends, family and fans. 

“He was most proud of his comedy,” Hoekstra told Deadline. “He never wanted the diagnosis to affect the way the audience or any of his loved ones saw him. 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 son of two schoolteachers raised in Quebec City, Canada, Macdonald was a stand-up comic and briefly a writer for the sitcom “Roseanne” when he was picked to join the cast of “Saturday Night Live” in 1993, the Associated Press reported. And he was perhaps best known for his deadpan delivery while anchoring the “Weekend Update” segments until he left “SNL” in 1998. He became known for his Bob Dole, Larry King and David Letterman impressions.

He later starred in “The Norm Show” comedy series from 1999-2001, and the short-lived Netflix /zigman2/quotes/202353025/composite NFLX -0.47% talk show “Norm Macdonald Has a Show” in 2018. He starred in several movies, including many with fellow “SNL” veterans like Adam Sandler and Rob Schneider, such as “Funny People” and “Billy Madison,” as well as “Grown Ups,” “The Animal” and “The People vs. Larry Flynt.”

Fellow comics and colleagues including Jon Stewart, Steve Martin, Jim Carrey, Patton Oswalt and Seth Rogen posted tributes to the late actor on Twitter. /zigman2/quotes/203180645/composite TWTR -1.09%

“No one could make you break like Norm Macdonald,” tweeted Stewart . “Hilarious and unique. F— cancer.” 

“I was a huge fan of Norm Macdonald and I essentially ripped off his delivery when I first started acting,” Rogen tweeted . “I would stay up specifically to watch him on talk shows. He was the funniest guest of all time. We lost a comedy giant today. One of the all time greats. RIP.”

Plenty of Macdonald’s most iconic late show guest appearances also began making the rounds on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon.

And, of course, there was his turn as Burt Reynolds on SNL’s “Celebrity Jeopardy” skit. 

More recently, he played Colonel Sanders in a series of KFC commercials for the Yum Brands-owned /zigman2/quotes/209029767/composite YUM +0.19% chicken chain in 2016, and he had a recurring role on the ABC series “The Middle” from 2010 to 2018. He was scheduled to perform at the New York Comedy Festival in November.

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Volume: 1.54M
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