Ghostbusters' Egon: Harold Ramis Dead At 69
Actor, writer and director Harold Ramis, best known for his work on hit comedy films such as Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day and Caddyshack, has died aged 69.
Ramis, who had been suffering from a rare illness for the past four years, was with family and friends at his Chicago home when he died on Monday morning.
The comedy star had been battling complications stemming from auto-immune inflammatory vasculitis, a rare blood vessel disorder, according to a spokesman for his representatives at the United Talent Agency in Los Angeles.
Ramis shot to fame in 1984 when he teamed up with Chicago improv pals Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray to write and star in Ghostbusters.
The film, in which Ramis portrayed Dr Egon Spengler, still ranks among the top 25 grossing comedies of all time.
Aykroyd was among the first to pay tribute, saying he was "deeply saddened to hear of the passing of my brilliant, gifted, funny friend ... May he now get the answers he was always seeking."
Bill Murray said in Time Magazine: "Harold Ramis and I together did the National Lampoon Show off Broadway, Meatballs, Stripes, Caddyshack, Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day. He earned his keep on this planet. God bless him."
Ramis got his start in 1969 at Chicago's famed Second City improvisational theatre troupe, while still employed as associate editor at Playboy Magazine.
His first big break came when he helped write the iconic 1978 comedy National Lampoon's Animal House, starring the late John Belushi.
He went on to achieve success with other comedy hits, including Stripes, Caddyshack, Groundhog Day and Analyze This.
Ramis' most recent film, Year One, starring Jack Black and Michael Cera, was released in 2009.
"His creativity, compassion, intelligence, humour and spirit will be missed by all who knew and loved him," read a statement from United Talent.
Other tributes to the comedy legend have been pouring in on social media.
Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane tweeted: "Harold Ramis was a brilliant, shining example for every comedy writer hoping to achieve excellence in the field. He will be sorely missed."
Actor John Cusack wrote in a tweet: "Harold was a master - a gentle wry subverter and as decent honest and kind a director as I've ever worked with - so sad."
Steve Martin said: "So sorry to hear about the death of Harold Ramis, a comedy master."
Ramis is survived by his wife Erica, the couple's three children and two grandchildren.
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