“We are heartbroken to announce the passing of our beloved Gilbert Gottfried after a long illness,” his family said in a statement via Twitter on Tuesday, April 12. “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.”
The New York native was best known for his controversial jokes about current events, as well as for providing the voice of some beloved cartoon characters like Iago in Aladdin and Kraang Subprime in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series. Gottfried also played a prominent role in the 2015 documentary The Aristocrats, about a long-standing taboo joke that has been circling in the comedy scene since the vaudeville days.
After news of his death broke, several comedians and costars celebrated the Problem Child star, including Seinfeld alum Jason Alexander. “Gilbert Gottfried made me laugh at times when laughter did not come easily. What a gift. I did not know him well but I loved what he shared with me. My best wishes and sympathy to his family,” the actor, 62, wrote via Twitter.
In January, Gottfried honored his friends and fellow comedians Bob Saget and Louie Anderson by sharing a photo with the two on Instagram. “This photo is very sad now,” he wrote at the time. “RIP Bob Saget and RIP Louie Anderson. Both good friends that will be missed.” Saget died on January 9 at the age of 65 and Anderson died just two weeks later at the age of 68.
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In his final Instagram post, the Celebrity Apprentice alum shared a joke about his friend Chris Rock being slapped by Will Smith at the 2022 Oscars, alongside a selfie with the comedian. “Which is the worst crime?” Gottfried wrote on March 28. “Chris Rock being physically assaulted or Chris Rock telling a joke?”
Gottfried is survived by his wife, Dara Kravitz, and their two children, Lily, 14, and Max, 12.