Gilbert Gottfried, Wickedly Funny Comedian With a Singular Voice, Dead at 67

Gilbert Gottfried, the wisecracking comedian with one of the most wonderfully unmistakable voices in Hollywood, has died. He was 67.

Gottfried’s family confirmed his death on social media, writing, “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.” 

An additional statement from Gottfried’s longtime friend and publicist, Glenn Schwartz, said he suffered from recurrent ventricular tachycardia due to myotonic dystrophy type II.

With his raspy, high-pitched voice, Gottfried carved out an impressive career as a stand-up, actor, and voice over performer. He did everything from kids movies like Aladdin to commercials (he was famously voiced the duck mascot for Aflac Insurance), but also put his talents towards brilliantly twisted means. He lost that job as the Aflac duck after tweeting jokes about the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and he delivered an outrageously crude version of the infamous “Aristocrats” joke at a Hugh Hefner roast weeks just after 9/11 (he went into “the Aristocrats,” by the way, after trying out some poorly received 9/11 jokes).

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In a 2012 interview with Rolling Stone, Gottfried spoke about his penchant for pushing boundaries and said he never held back from joking about topics, no matter how inappropriate it might be. “The other thing that always got me is when they say, ‘Tragedy plus time equals comedy,’ or when they’ll yell, ‘Too soon!’ I always felt like, ‘OK, please show me where the office is where there’s a guy behind a desk who has it marked off in a calendar when something goes from bad taste to OK.’”

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