Harold Ramis, best known for his role as Egon Spengler in 1984′s hit “Ghostbusters,” has died at the age of 69.
The actor and filmmaker passed away early on Monday following a battle with rare blood disease autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis.
Born in Chicago, Illinois, Ramis started out as a playwright in college, honing his skills by penning parodies. He joined the Second City improvisational comedy group, where he met John Belushi and “Ghostbusters” co-star Bill Murray.
The trio went on to work together on the New York-based radio show “The National Lampoon Radio Hour” in the early 1970s and Ramis’ work on the program helped him land a job as a co-writer of the 1978 comedy film, “National Lampoon’s Animal House,” which starred Belushi.
PHOTOS: 2014 Notable Death
He and Murray became frequent collaborators, and Ramis served as writer/director on their hit movies “Caddyshack” and “Groundhog Day.” He also wrote and directed Robert De Niro and Billy Crystal’s 1999 comedy “Analyze This”.
As an actor, Ramis was perhaps best known for his role as Egon Spengler in 1984′s “Ghostbusters,” while he also played Russell Ziskey in another Murray collaboration, 1981′s “Stripes.”
Tributes pour in for Harold Ramis
Hollywood stars Jon Fabreau, Seth MacFarlane, Elijah Wood and Eli Roth are among the celebrities leading the tributes to Ramis following his death on Monday.
Ramis’ death stunned celebrity fans and friends, who have flooded Twitter with touching tributes.
Actor/director Favreau writes, “No no not Harold Ramis. Worked for him years ago. He was the real deal. Growing up, his work changed my life. He will be missed”, while Roth tweets, “Oh no, Harold Ramis died. One of my filmmaking heroes. Caddyshack, Stripes, Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day… So sad.”
Harold Ramis. Funny, gracious, kind hearted. A joy to have known you.
— Steve Carell (@SteveCarell) February 24, 2014
Harold Ramis was a brilliant, shining example for every comedy writer hoping to achieve excellence the field. He will be sorely missed.
— Seth MacFarlane (@SethMacFarlane) February 24, 2014
"I collect spores, molds, and fungus" – condolences to the family and friends of the great Harold Ramis
— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) February 24, 2014
REST IN PEACE Harold Ramis : a continued source of everything funny
— Henry Winkler (@hwinkler4real) February 24, 2014
Meanwhile, British comedian Stephen Fry hailed Ramis as “a comedy hero”, while Scrubs star Zach Braff credited the late funnyman with inspiring him to pursue a career in showbusiness, writing: “If you’re my age and got into comedy, Harold Ramis was one of the reasons. Life is fast and over too soon.”
Patton Oswalt, “Karate Kid” star Ralph Macchio, Eliza Dushku, Rashida Jones and Mark Hoppus from Blink-182 have also tweeted their shock and sadness following the tragic news.