WASHINGTON — Legendary comedian and actor Gilbert Gottfried, known for his shrill-voice and crude humor, has died, his family announced on Tuesday afternoon. He was 67.
On Gottfried's Twitter account, the comedian's family uploaded a message saying that Gottfried had been suffering from a "long illness." Glenn Schwartz, Gottfried's publicist and longtime friend, confirmed in a statement that the comedian had died from myotonic dystrophy type II, a rare genetic muscle disease that can trigger a dangerously abnormal heartbeat.
"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 statement read. "Although today is a sad day for us, please keep laughing as loud as possible in Gilbert's honor."
Besides his raunchy comedic style using an exaggerated, grated voice, Gottfried was also known for his numerous voice acting roles, including the sassy-mouthed parrot "Iago" in "Aladdin," and the iconic Aflac Duck for Aflac Insurance.
Back in January, Gottfried shared a photo featuring himself and two other comedy legends who had recently passed away, Bob Saget and Louie Anderson.
"This photo is very sad now. RIP Bob Saget and RIP Louie Anderson. Both good friends that will be missed.," Gottfried wrote at the time.
Comedian and "Seinfeld" star Jason Alexander paid tribute to Gottfried in a tweet: "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."
New York Times writer Dave Itzkoff also paid tribute on Twitter, writing that despite his vulgar public persona, Gottfried was an "an unexpectedly gentle guy."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.