Harold Ramis died Monday at the age of 69. (Source: Wikipedia/ Justin Hoch)
(RNN) - Harold Ramis, the actor, director and writer who helped create a new golden age of comedies in the 1980s, died surrounded by family members Monday, according to multiple reports.
His wife, Erica Mann Ramis, told the Chicago Tribune he died at around 12:53 a.m. Ramis, 69, had battled the rare disease autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis for nearly four years.
The Tribune reported his health struggles began in May 2010 with an infection that led to complications related to the autoimmune disease, according to his wife. Ramis relearned to walk but suffered a relapse in 2011.
"Sad to hear my friend Harold Ramis passed away," actor Billy Crystal wrote on Twitter. "A brilliant, funny, actor and director. A wonderful husband and dad. Big loss to us all."
Ramis was recognizable for his on-screen roles as Egon Spengler in the Ghostbusters movies and Russell Ziskey in Stripes. He also wrote or directed several other classics, including Caddyshack and National Lampoon's Vacation.
Ramis worked as Playboy's joke editor and reviewer before joining the Chicago Second City improv troupe in 1969. Other alums of Second City included future collaborators Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, John Candy and Bill Murray.
In the 1970s, he served as head writer and a performer on the Canadian TV show SCTV, based out of Toronto's Second City group. His Hollywood break came when he co-wrote National Lampoon's Animal House, one of several pairings with director Ivan Reitman.
Other writing or co-writing credits included Meatballs, Back to School and Groundhog Day, which he also directed. Among his other directing efforts were Analyze This, Multiplicity and Club Paradise.
Copyright 2014 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.
Thursday, July 24 2014 2:35 AM EDT2014-07-24 06:35:51 GMT
The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for Arizona to carry out its third execution in the past year Wednesday following a closely watched First Amendment fight over the secrecy surrounding lethal injection drugs.More >>
A condemned Arizona inmate gasped for more than an hour and a half during his execution Wednesday before he died in an episode sure to add to the scrutiny surrounding the death penalty in the U.S.More >>
Wednesday, July 23 2014 10:47 PM EDT2014-07-24 02:47:39 GMT
The State Department says a computer glitch has caused major delays in its passport and visa issuance operations at its embassies around the world, potentially leaving millions of people awaiting U.S. travel...More >>
The State Department's global database for issuing travel documents has crashed, resulting in major delays for potentially millions of people around the world waiting for U.S. passports and visas, officials said...More >>