Norm Macdonald, beloved comedian and former ‘SNL’ star, dies of cancer

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Norm Macdonald, a comedian known by many for his time on “Saturday Night Live” in the 1990s, died Tuesday after a private nine-year ordeal with cancer, according to Deadline. He was 61 years old.

Variety also confirmed Macdonald’s death Tuesday.

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

Macdonald was a cast member on “SNL” from 1993 to 1998, spending time as an anchor on the weekly segment “Weekend Update.” One of his most iconic roles was portraying Burt Reynolds in the “Celebrity Jeopardy!” segment. After leaving “SNL,” he starred in the comedy series “Norm” from 1999 to 2001.

Macdonald was born and raised in Quebec City in Canada and was hired to write on “Roseanne” before he landed a job with “SNL.” He also was a supporting actor in several comedies starring “SNL” veterans, including “Billy Madison,” “Dr. Doolittle” and “The Animal.”

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,” producing partner and friend Lori Jo Hoekstra said in a statement to NBC News. “Norm was a pure comic. He once wrote that ‘a joke should catch someone by surprise, it should never pander.’ He certainly never pandered. Norm will be missed terribly.”

The comedian was “determined to keep his health struggles private, away from family, friends and fans,” Hoekstra told Deadline.

But he didn’t shy away from jokes on cancer, either.

“I’m pretty sure, I’m not a doctor, but I’m pretty sure if you die, the cancer also dies at exactly the same time. So that to me, that’s not a loss. That’s a draw,” Macdonald said in a former comedy sketch.

In a 2016 interview with Vulture, Macdonald said “comedy in its highest form always reveals something” before mentioning cancer.

“I’ve heard people go onstage and talk about cancer or some (stuff), and I go, ‘Isn’t this what happens to everybody?’ They seem to think they’re singular in their story when their story is the most common story that could possibly be, which is suffering and pain,” Macdonald said.

After learning of Macdonald’s death, Jon Stewart said, “No one could make you break like Norm MacDonald. Hilarious and unique.”

Other comedians and celebrities also took to Twitter to send their condolences.

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