Horrible, horrible news!! May he rest in peace!!

Harold Ramis dead at 69, starred in Ghostbusters, SCTV

Actor, writer and filmmaker Harold Ramis, the Ghostbusters star whose comedy credits include Groundhog Day and the National Lampoon films, has died at 69.

Ramis died early Monday morning at his Chicago-area home, surrounded by family and friends, according to a statement from his Los Angeles representatives, United Talent Agency.

Ramis died of complications from autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, a condition that affects blood vessels he had battled for the past four years.

Chicago-born Ramis started his comedy career in his hometown’s influential Second City improv comedy theatre in 1969, where he would encounter his friends and regular collaborators such as John Belushi, Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd.

When the troupe launched its landmark television series SCTV in the late 1970s, Ramis was its first head writer, as well as one of the cast members.

Nearly a decade later, he broke through into Hollywood with the blockbuster comedy National Lampoon’s Animal House, starring Belushi, and became known for some of the most popular comedy films of the 1980s.

Through his career, he would mix screenwriting, directing, producing and acting roles. His best-loved titles include his role in the Ghostbusters films — in which he portrayed the straight-laced Dr. Egon Spengler — and directing the comedy classic Groundhog Day, starring Murray.

He often teamed with his former Second City colleagues for wild and silly films, including Stripes, Caddyshack, Meatballs and National Lampoon’s Vacation.

In recent years, Ramis work included directing episodes of The Office, the film Year One and cameo roles in movies by filmmakers he’d influenced (including Judd Apatow’s Knocked Up). He was also touted as a caring mentor in the industry and a key inspiration to a younger generation of comedy filmmakers, including Adam Sandler, Jay Roach, Jake Kasdan and Peter and Bobby Farrelly.

Second City founder Bernie Sahlins once said that, from the start, he knew Ramis “would be an important factor in American comedy.

“He has all the skills and abilities to be funny and to write funny, but he also is a leader, a very nice guy. He was always looked up to, in Second City to being head writer at SCTV. He was never separate from anybody. He was always one of the boys, but he was the best boy,” Sahlins told the Chicago Tribune in a 1999 interview. Sahlins, who had worked with Ramis since 1969, died in 2013.

Ramis is survived by his wife, Erica Mann Ramis, his children Julian, Daniel and Violet and two grandchildren.

Selected Harold Ramis credits:

National Lampoon’s Animal House.
Ghostbusters (I and II).
National Lampoon’s Vacation.
Caddyshack (I and II).
Groundhog Day.
As Good as It Gets.
Stuart Saves His Family.
Knocked Up.
Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.
Analyze This (and its sequel Analyze That).
Year One.