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Comedian Gilbert Gottfried passes away at 67 years old

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Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for SiriusXM

Comedian Gilbert Gottfried, a man who had a distinctive speaking voice, has passed away at the age of 67 years old.

"We are heartbroken to announce the passing of our beloved Gilbert Gottfried after a long illness. In addition to being the most iconic voice in comedy, Gilbert was a wonderful husband, brother, friend and father to his two young children. Although today is a sad day for all of us, please keep laughing as loudly as possible in Gilbert's honor," a statement from Gottfried's family said.

NBC News reported that Gottfried's publicist Glenn Schwartz indicated that the comedian had passed away Tuesday of recurrent ventricular tachycardia due to Myotonic Dystrophy type II.

According to the Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center, "Myotonic dystrophy type 2 ... is an inherited muscular dystrophy that affects the muscles and other body systems (e.g., heart, eyes, and pancreas)." And according to the Mayo Clinic, "Ventricular tachycardia is a heart rhythm problem (arrhythmia) caused by irregular electrical signals in the lower chambers of the heart (ventricles)."

Gottfried voiced the character of the parrot Iago in Disney's "Aladdin" movies, and elsewhere, such as in the "Aladdin" television series.

The comedian, who had originally voiced the Aflac duck, was dropped by the insurance company in 2011 over jokes he had posted on Twitter.

He had also appeared on a season of "The Celebrity Apprentice," a television show that featured Donald Trump before the businessman mounted a successful presidential bid.

Jason Alexander, known for his role on the television show "Seinfeld," tweeted, "Gilbert Gottfried made me laugh at times when laughter did not come easily. What a gift. I did not know him well but I loved what he shared with me. My best wishes and sympathy to his family. #ripGilbertGottfried"

Conan O'Brien tweeted, "I saw Gilbert perform in 1985 and when he entered to applause he said, 'Thank you, thank you very much.' He then continued to say 'thank you' repeatedly for ten full minutes. It was the nerviest, funniest thing I had seen. So sorry to lose this sweet and delightfully funny man."

"RIP Gilbert. Opening for Gilbert Gottfried at Carolines and Princeton Catch was one of the great thrills of my early stand up life. He could leave you gasping for breath…just indescribably unusually hilarious…Damn," Jon Stewart tweeted.

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