Comedian Norm Macdonald Dies at 61 After Quiet Battle With Cancer

Norm Macdonald
Getty Images

The comedy icon cut his teeth in Canada as a standup before landing a writing gig on "Roseanne" in the early 90s.

Beloved comedian Norm Macdonald has died after a private battle with cancer, according to reports. He was 61.

Macdonald’s producing partner and friend Lori Jo Hoekstra was with him when he died, Deadline reported.

He had been battling cancer for nearly a decade, a battle that kept away from some friends, family and colleagues, according to Deadline.

“He was most proud of his comedy,” Hoekstra told Deadline. “He never wanted the diagnosis to affect the way the audience or any of his loved ones saw him. Norm was a pure comic. He once wrote that ‘a joke should catch someone by surprise, it should never pander.’ He certainly never pandered. Norm will be missed terribly.”

“Norm was an original! He defined American humor with honesty and blunt force,” Jeff Danis, president of DPN Talent and one of Macdonald’s reps, told Variety in a statement.

Norman Gene MacDonald was born on Oct. 17, 1959 in Québec City, Québec, Canada. He began his career in stand-up comedy. MacDonald then moved to Los Angeles, where his first job was writing for Roseanne in 1992, according to IMDB.

Macdonald, a “Saturday Night Live” alum who once hosted the show’s “Weekend Update” segment, appeared in a variety of films, including “Dirty Work,” “Billy Maddison,” “The People vs. Larry Flynt,” and in many television series such as “Mike Tyson Mysteries” and “The Middle.”

The announcement of his death shocked the entertainment world and many of his famous friends paid tribute to him on social media.

“I am absolutely devastated about Norm Macdonald. Norm had the most unique comedic voice I have ever encountered and he was so relentlessly and uncompromisingly funny. I will never laugh that hard again. I'm so sad for all of us today,” Conan O’Brien tweeted.

“Schitts Creek” star Eugene Levy tweeted that “Today the world lost a very, very funny man. We miss him already. R.I.P Norm Macdonald.”

Iconic comedian Albert Brooks also tweeted: “R.I.P. Norm Macdonald.  I never got a chance to know him but he made me laugh so many times with his brilliant wit and delivery. Comedy lost a great one today.”

Senator Bob Dole, whom Macdonald lampooned and impersonated on “SNL,” paid his respects.

“Norm @normmacdonald was a great talent, and I loved laughing with him on SNL. *Bob Dole* will miss Norm Macdonald.”

Macdonald was scheduled to appear at the upcoming New York Comedy Festival in November, according to CNN.

Related Stories