Saturday Night Live’s Norm Macdonald dies aged 61 after cancer battle

SNL star Norm Macdonald died on Tuesday morning after a nine-year battle with cancer (Picture: Getty Images)

Comedy icon Norm Macdonald has died aged 61 after privately battling cancer for the past nine years.

The Saturday Night Live legend, who was famous for his quips as Weekend Update anchor, died Tuesday morning.

His management firm, Brillstein Entertainment, confirmed the news to Deadline, revealing the TV star had kept his health struggles hidden from friends and fans.

The comedian’s longtime producing partner and friend Lori Jo Hoekstra told the publication: ‘He was most proud of his comedy. He never wanted the diagnosis to affect the way the audience or any of his loved ones saw him. Norm was a pure comic.

‘He once wrote that “a joke should catch someone by surprise, it should never pander.” He certainly never pandered. Norm will be missed terribly.’

The Canadian-born comedian started his career as a writer on The Dennis Miller Show and Roseanne in the early 1990s, where he was noticed first by SNL producer Lorne Michaels.

Norm alongside Adam Sandler as Gil Graham during the Weekend Update in 1994 (Picture: NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)

He featured as a cast member on the sketch comedy show from 1993 through to 1998.

Viewers particarly enjoyed the three years in which he anchored the Weekend Update segment.

Norm often attributed his 1998 firing to his continued lambasting of O.J. Simpson as a murderer despite what he said was the displeasure of Don Ohlmeyer, president of NBC’s West Coast division.

After leaving SNL in 1998, he launched comedy series, The Norm Show, which ran until 2001.

The comedian also did a one-season talk show for Netflix, Norm Macdonald Has a Show, in 2018, while he also released three stand-up comedy albums.

Over the years he became a fan-favorite for his comical appearances on late-night shows including Late Night With David Letterman and Conan, while he also had a recurring role on The Middle.

The comedian starred on SNL from 1993 to 1998 (Picture: Gerry Goodstein/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)

Star were quick to share their shock about the news as Seth Rogen tweeted: ‘Oh f**k. I was a huge fan of Norm Macdonald and I essentially ripped off his delivery when I first started acting.

‘I would stay up specifically to watch him on talk shows. He was the funniest guest of all time. We lost a comedy giant today. One of the the all time greats. RIP.’

Director Edgar Wright wrote: ‘Of the many addictive rabbit holes you can disappear down on the internet, the most pleasurable is “Norm MacDonald chat show appearances”. Thanks for all the laughs Norm, very sorry to see you go.’

Actor Josh Gad stated: ‘Oh come on! Damnit. Not Norm. Absolutely gutted. One of the most underrated and hilarious SNL performers. RIP #NormMacdonald’.

Former The View co-host Meghan McCain added: ‘Gutted. One of the great comedic geniuses, free thinkers, all around true originals of all time.

‘Ben and I were lucky enough to see him perform in Vegas and it was incredible. Beyond tragic. Condolences to his friends, family and loved ones.’

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