Anderson died at a hospital in Las Vegas of complications from cancer, said Glenn Schwartz, his longtime publicist. Anderson had a type of non-Hodgkins lymphoma, Schwartz said in a previous Tuesday statement.
The St. Paul native was a perennial presence on the Paramount stage in St. Cloud. He used the St. Cloud venue to try out new material and connect with a home-state audience. He also made appearances in Little Falls in recent years. Early in his career, he entertained at St. Cloud State University's Atwood Center.
Paramount Executive Director Bob Johnson said Anderson was "just a wonderful, kind man" that the Paramount staff enjoyed having at their venue.
"In every case, he was very gracious and down-to-earth, unpretentious and kind of lovable," Johnson said.
Anderson won a 2016 Emmy for best supporting actor for his unlikely role in the comedy "Baskets" as Christine Baskets, mom to twin sons played by Zach Galifianakis. Anderson received three consecutive Emmy nods for his performance.
"I think the audiences were thrilled at his success, and his success is significant if you consider his years as a comedian as well as a television star," Johnson said. "He really contributed to arts and culture, and the best thing is he mostly brought joy and laughter, and a much-needed joy after these days."
Anderson's comedic debut started on "The Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson where the comedian did his first TV standup routine in 1984.
He's been a familiar face elsewhere on TV, including as host of a revival of the game show "Family Feud" from 1999 to 2002, and on comedy specials and made frequent late-night talk show appearances.
In his role on "Baskets" Anderson told USA TODAY in 2017 he'd been "training to play" the gender-switching role after incorporating the memory of his mother, Ora Zella Anderson, into his standup acts.
"My goal is that when you watch me, you might say, ‘That’s Louie Anderson,’ but within a few minutes I completely disappear and Christine completely emerges,” he said of his award-winning role.
Actor and comedian Pauly Shore tweeted about Anderson's declining health Thursday on Twitter after visiting him in the hospital.
"I say this with a heavy heart just left the hospital in Las Vegas where Louie Anderson his sisters and close friend were kind enough to let me say my goodbyes," he wrote.
Anderson voiced an animated version of himself as a kid in "Life With Louie." He created the cartoon series, which first aired in prime time in late 1994 before moving to Saturday morning for its 1995-98 run. Anderson won two Daytime Emmy Awards for the role.
The comedian made many series cameos throughout his career including "Scrubs" and "Touched by an Angel," and he appeared on the big screen in 1988's "Coming to America" and in last year's sequel to the Eddie Murphy comedy.
Contributing: Sarah Kocher and Lisa Schwarz, St. Cloud Times; Bill Keveney, USA TODAY; The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on St. Cloud Times: Minnesota's Louie Anderson dead at 68, was a fixture on St. Cloud scene