Norm Macdonald Dies: Former ‘SNL’ Cast Member Was 61

Norm MacDonald during an interview on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on April 21, 2008 (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty)

Iconic Saturday Night Live cast member Norm Macdonald has died after a long and private battle with cancer. He was 61.

The stand-up comedian’s manager Marc Gurvitz confirmed his death to NBC News.

“He was most proud of his comedy. He never wanted the diagnosis to affect the way the audience or any of his loved ones saw him,” Lori Jo Hoekstra, Macdonald’s longtime producing partner and friend, told NBC.

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Macdonald was born in 1959 and raised in Quebec City, Canada. His entertainment career began when he started performing in Canadian clubs.

He was hired as a television writer for the ABC sitcom Roseanne for the 1992-1993 season before he left to join the cast of Saturday Night Live.

Macdonald was part of the sketch comedy series for five years and became well known for his “Weekend Update” segments, in which he skewered O. J. Simpson’s not guilty verdict, poked fun at Michael Jackson after his divorce from Lisa Marie Presley, and constantly joked about “Baywatch” star David Hasselhoff.

After leaving SNL, the comedian appeared in several films including Billy Madison and The People vs. Larry Flynt. He also briefly starred on the sitcom The Norm Show from 1999 to 2001.

In 2013, he launched a podcast called “Norm Macdonald Live,” which ran for one year. Most recently, Macdonald had a talk show on Netflix in 2018 titled Norm Macdonald Has a Show in which he interviewed guests including SNL creator Lorne Michaels, David Spade and Jane Fonda. Last year, he launched a video dating app called Loko.

After learning about his death, stars from the comedy world paid tribute to Macdonald on social media.

“Thank you sir!!! Rest well!!!!! Sending love to your family!!!” Kenan Thompson captioned a picture of Macdonald on Instagram.

“Every one of us loved Norm. Some of the hardest laughs of my life with this man. Most fearless funny original guy we knew. An incredible dad. A great friend. A legend. Love u pal,” Adam Sandler tweeted.

“My dear friend Norm Macdonald passed after a brave 10 year battle. He was one of our most precious gems. An honest and courageous comedy genius. I love him,” added Jim Carrey on Twitter.

“I am absolutely devastated about Norm Macdonald,” tweeted Conan O’Brien. “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.

“Very sad to hear of the passing of Norm Macdonald,” Billy Crystal wrote on Twitter. “He was a bold, fearless and original voice. This is a huge loss.”