Harold Ramis, a hugely successful comedy filmmaker, died earlier today at 12:53 am at the age of 69 surrounded by his family. The cause of death was said to be complications of autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis which is a rare disease that causes the swelling of blood vessels. Ramis began to suffer from the illness back in May 2010 and even had to relearn how to walk after his condition worsened.
Not only did Ramis star as Egon Spengler in one of the highest grossing comedies of it’s time, the 1984 hit Ghostbusters, but he was also a very gifted writer and director. His body of work is simply incredible and secures his name as a Hollywood great. He’s credited for his involvement in writing works such as National Lampoon’s Animal House, Stripes and of course, Ghostbusters and the 1989 sequel Ghostbusters II. His talents as a director can be seen in movies such as Caddyshack, National Lampoon’s Animal House, Groundhog Day and Analyze This.
A head writer and performer for Second City’s TV series, Second City Television, and in recent years Ramis also directed a series of episodes of NBC’s The Office.
Ramis’ unforgettably wise and wild comedy gave rise to many younger stars in the industry, including people such as Judd Apatow (The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up), Jay Roach (Meet the Parents, The Austin Powers series), Peter Farrelly (There’s Something About Mary, Dumb and Dumber), Jake Kasdan (Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story and Orange County both of which featured Ramis in small roles) and even Adam Sandler.
In 2004, Ramis was inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame and was even rewarded the Distinguished Screenwriters Award at the Austin Film Festival.
His friend and fellow ghostbuster Dan Aykroyd took to Twitter to acknowledge Ramis’ passing;
Deeply saddened to hear of the passing of my brilliant, gifted, funny friend, co-writer/performer and teacher Harold Ramis.
— Dan Aykroyd (@dan_aykroyd) February 24, 2014
Fans across the internet are also creating beautiful fan art to acknowledge Ramis and his impact on their lives, and some are truly heartbreaking.
We must remember that he is not only a tragic loss as a talented actor, writer and director, but also a huge loss to his wife and three children.