Actor, writer, director and all-round comedy great Harold Ramis has died following a battle with an autoimmune disease that had kept him from working for the past half-decade. He was 69 years old.
Best known for his on-screen performances as Egon Spengler in Ghostbusters and Russell Ziskey in Stripes, he was also an acclaimed screenwriter responsible for the script to Animal House, as well as a director of such comic classics as National Lampoon‘s Vacation, Caddyshack, and Groundhog Day.
Ramis was instrumental in the making of Meatballs, Analyze This, Bedazzled, Multiplicity, and, most recently, Year One, among many others.
He frequently collaborated with fellow Chicagoan Bill Murray and co-wrote the screenplay to Ghostbusters with their Second City castmate Dan Aykroyd.
In 2010, he lost the ability to walk due to complications with his autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, a rare disease that causes inflammation of the blood vessels.
Though Ramis relearnt how to walk, he suffered a relapse in 2011.
Murray and Ramis had a falling out during the production of Groundhog Day in 1993, though Murray would go on to visit Ramis at his home while he was recovering.
Murray issued the following statement to Time after learning of Ramis’ death:
“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.”
Ramis is survived by his wife, Erica, three children, and two grandchildren.