The Chicago native, who wrote and directed Caddyshack and Groundhog Day, has died at 69. (UPDATE)
The comedy world has lost a legend: Harold Ramis, the brains behind Caddyshack, Ghostbusters, and countless other cinematic touchstones of the ’80s and ’90s, died on Monday, Feb. 24 in Chicago at age 69.
Erica Mann Ramis, his wife of more than 20 years, told the Chicago Tribune that he “succumbed to complications of autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, a rare disease that involves swelling of the blood vessels.” Ramis battled the disease since May 2010 and, according to the Tribune, had to relearn to walk before suffering a relapse in late 2011.
Ramis had two sons Julian, 23, and Daniel, 19, with Erica Mann Ramis, as well as a daughter Violet, 37, from a previous marriage.
He leaves behind an unparalleled legacy in Hollywood, having worked in front of and behind the camera since the late ’70s when he starred on SCTV, a Canadian sketch comedy series that spotlighted Toronto’s Second City comedy troupe.
From there, he wrote the screenplays for Animal House, Meatballs, Caddyshack, Stripes, Ghostbusters, Back to School, and Groundhog Day. Ramis, also an acclaimed director, was perhaps most famous for playing Dr. Egon Spengler in Ghostbusters.
More recently, he played Seth Rogen’s father in Knocked Up, had directed four episodes of NBC’s The Office, and was heavily involved in the proposed Ghostbusters reboot, the fate of which is now unknown.
Update – Feb. 24, 5:35 p.m., ET: Bill Murray has released a statement to TIME about his frequent collaborator.
“Harold Ramis and I together did the National Lampoon Show off Broadway, Meatballs, Stripes, Caddyshack, Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day. He earned his keep on this planet. God bless him.”
This post has been updated to change language originally taken from a press release.