Gilbert Gottfried, Comedian And Actor, Dies At 67

Famed comedian and actor Gilbert Gottfried has passed away at the age of 67. Actor Jason Alexander shared the news on his Twitter account with the message, "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. #ripGilbertGottfried" Fellow comedian and editor Emery Emery also shared a message mourning the passing of Gottfried: "On the morning I'm releasing my latest film, I discover my friend and colleague, Gilbert Gottfried has passed. I am so so sad. Gilbert graciously lent his voice to the 'Science Friction' project and he will be dearly missed but never forgotten. This is his hilarious contribution."

Gilbert Gottfried's official Twitter account later confirmed his death, stating his cause of death was an illness. "We are heartbroken to announce the passing of our beloved Gilbert Gottfried after a long illness," the family statement reads. "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. Love, the Gottfried family."

Aside from his early years as a stand-up comic, Gilbert Gottfried was also known for his signature voice, which helped him rise as a prominent voice actor for television commercials and animated TV shows and movies. Some of his TV appearances include Saturday Night Live, The Cosby Show, Married... With Children, and Night Court. Gilbert lent his voice to animated projects such as Aladdin, The Ren & Stimpy Show, Duckman, Superman: The Animated Series, The Fairly OddParents, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, SpongeBob SquarePants, and many more.

Perhaps Gottfried's most iconic roles came as the voice of Iago the Parrot on Aladdin and the Aflac duck in TV commercials. Gottfried talked to RogerEbert.com about the creative control he was allowed when voicing Iago.

"They definitely left it open for me to be able to play around and throw in lines," he said in the 2017 interview. "When they are recording your voice, they have a video camera in the room so they can capture your facial expressions, which influenced the way that the parrot was drawn. One time, the artist showed me a drawing he made where you see a caricature of me that slowly transforms into Iago. There was a particular line in the film that I had ad-libbed, and someone told me that Robin Williams cracked up when he heard it. It was during a scene where Iago and Jafar have to escape, and I go, 'Quick, let's get everything: the guns, the knives, the hand grenades—and what about this picture of me? Do you like it? I think I'm making a weird face in it.' That was a lot of fun. Of course, every now and then, they would have to stop me and go, 'This is a Disney film. We can't really use that word.' [laughs]"

(Cover Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for SiriusXM)