Noted Comedian Gilbert Gottfried Dead at 67 From Myotonic Dystrophy Type II

According to a story from Rolling Stone, iconic comedian Gilbert Gottfried has passed away from complications related to myotonic dystrophy type II, a rare disease. His publicist disclosed his cause of death as recurrent ventricular tachycardia, a form of heart failure that was triggered by the disorder. The comedian was known for his distinctive, raspy, high pitched voice. 

About Myotonic Dystrophy

Myotonic dystrophy is a form of muscular dystrophy. Its onset is later than many other forms, often beginning in the 20s and 30s (though it can begin at any time). In this long term disorder, the muscle systems contract and are unable to relax. The disease comes in two main forms: type 1, which is usually more severe and linked to mutations affecting the DMPK gene, and type 2, which is caused by mutations of the CNBP gene. Symptoms include progressive muscle weakness, muscle atrophy, heart problems, intellectual disability, cataracts, sleep apnea, and insulin resistance. Men may experience infertility and early balding. Muscle problems often begin in the feet, hands, neck, or face. There are no disease altering therapies for myotonic dystrophy, and treatment focuses on managing symptoms and complications. Common measures include pacemakers, non-invasive ventilation, and mobility aids such as braces or a wheelchair. The disease is estimated to affect around 30,000 people in the US. To learn more about myotonic dystrophy, click here.

Remembering Gilbert Gottfried

Gottfried is noted for his achievements in voiceover work, both in iconic films such as Aladdin (which is probably his most famous role) and as the Aflac duck mascot. He wasn’t afraid to stoke controversy and push the boundaries of comedic speech. Remarkably, he first started pursuing comedy at just fifteen years old.

A tweet from his family announcing his death reads:

“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 loud as possible in Gilbert’s honor.” 

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