The Margin: Gilbert Gottfried, comic, ‘Aladdin’ star and voice of the Aflac duck, dies at 67

United States

An unforgettable voice has been silenced.

Comedian Gilbert Gottfried, whose iconic voice gave life to the villainous parrot Iago in Disney’s DIS, +0.15% “Aladdin” as well as the Aflac AFL, -0.46% duck, has died after a long illness, his family reported Tuesday. He was 67. 

“We are heartbroken to announce the passing of our beloved Gilbert Gottfried after a long illness. In addition to being the most iconic voice in comedy, Gilbert was a wonderful husband, brother, friend and father to his two young children. Although today is a sad day for all of us, please keep laughing as loud as possible in Gilbert’s honor,” the Gottfried family tweeted. 

His rep Glenn Schwartz said in a statement that Gottfried died from a heart abnormality called ventricular tachycardia, which is a type of abnormal heart rhythm when the lower chamber of the heart beats too fast to pump well, and the body doesn’t receive enough oxygenated blood.

The tributes soon came pouring in across Twitter TWTR, -5.38% from fellow comedians and actors like “Seinfeld” star Jason Alexander, Marlee Matlin and Dane Cook. 

Gottfried was born in Brooklyn, the son of a hardware store owner and a stay-at-home mom. He began doing amateur standup at age 15.

He first came to national attention with frequent appearances on MTV in its early days and with a brief stint in the cast of “Saturday Night Live” in the 1980s. Many fans noted online that they grew up with Gottfried’s shrill and hilariously abrasive voice on “Hollywood Squares” and plenty of celebrity roasts, as well as in movies such as “Beverly Hills Cop II” in 1987, 1990’s “Problem Child,” Disney’s “Aladdin,” or as robotic bird Digit in PBS Kids’ “Cyberchase.”

And, of course, he voiced the Aflac insurance company’s duck mascot in the early 2000s. 

Gottfried’s death is the the latest to hit the comedy world, coming on the heels of Bob Saget and Louie Anderson, who both passed away in January.

In fact, Gottfried had tweeted a photo in January showing himself, Saget and Anderson posing for a selfie together. “This photo is very sad now,” he wrote as the caption when tweeting it on Jan. 21.

It’s even sadder now that Gottfried has joined them, fans noted, and the image was widely shared across Twitter on Tuesday.

Gottfried is survived by his wife Dara, sister Karen, 14-year-old daughter Lily and 12-year-old son Max.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.