According to his publicist, he died of myotonic dystrophy type 2, a kind of muscular dystrophy.
“After a long illness, we are heartbroken to announce the death of our dear Gilbert Gottfried. Gilbert was a loving husband, brother, friend, and father to his two young children in addition to having the most legendary voice in comedy. “Please keep laughing as loudly as possible in Gilbert’s honour, even though this is a sad day for all of us,” his family posted on Twitter.
Following the devastating news of Gottfried’s death, several celebrities, including comedians Jason Alexander, Dane Cook, and others, paid tribute to him. Cook noted, “Gilbert Gottfried was never not humorous.” “He was a wonderful person who was always friendly and made a lot of people happy.”
Gottfried was recognised for his caustic humour, political incorrectness, and shrill voice, which helped bring a variety of cartoon creatures to life, including Iago the parrot in Disney’s “Aladdin,” the robotic bird Digit in PBS Kids’ “Cyberchase,” and the Aflac duck in insurance ads.
He was born on February 28, 1955, in Brooklyn, New York, and began performing stand-up comedy at the age of 15. In 1980, Gottfried had a 12-episode run on “Saturday Night Live,” and in “Beverly Hills Cop II,” one of his first major film roles, he reconnected with his “SNL” co-star Eddie Murphy. Gottfried was a regular guest on Howard Stern’s radio show in the 1980s, impersonating individuals including Andrew “Dice” Clay, Groucho Marx, and Bela Lugosi as Dracula.
Gottfried had appearances in films like “Problem Child,” “Highway to Hell,” and “Looks Who’s Talking Too” by the 1990s, before winning his most known voice role as Iago the parrot in 1992’s “Aladdin.” Iago was the irritating but amusing comedic relief who followed the evil Jafar, and Gottfried repeated the part in two direct-to-video sequels, a TV series, and the video games “Kingdom Hearts.”
Kraang Subprime in “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” Mr. Mxyzptlk in “Superman: The Animated Series,” Dr. Bender and his son Wendell in “The Fairly OddParents,” as well as “SpongeBob Squarepants,” “The Ren & Stimpy Show,” “Duckman,” “Disney’s House of Mouse,” and countless more.
Gottfried became a frequent on celebrity roasts and game shows in the 2000s and 2010s. He performed in Bob Saget, Joan Rivers, David Hasselhoff, Donald Trump, and Roseanne Barr roasts on Comedy Central, as well as game shows including “Hollywood Squares” and “Pyramid.”
His edgy and filthy humour, on the other hand, got him into a lot of trouble. Gottfried joked that he couldn’t get a direct flight from New York to California three weeks after the terrorist attacks because “they said they needed to stop at the Empire State Building first.” The audience erupted in laughter and cries of “too soon,” but Gottfried won them over and made news by performing one of the first 9/11 jokes.
Gottfried made multiple masturbation jokes regarding Paul Reubens’ recent arrest for masturbating in an adult movie theatre live on stage at the 1991 Emmy Awards, which resulted in Gottfried being blacklisted by producers. After tweeting jokes about the 2011 Tohoku Japanese earthquake crisis, which was the fourth most severe earthquake ever to strike Japan, the comic also lost his position as the voice of the Aflac duck.