George Pimentel/WireImage
April 06, 2017 02:53 PM

Don Rickles’ many famous friends and fans are taking to social media in the wake of his death to mourn and share memories of the beloved comedian.

The legendary insult comic died on Thursday, with his longtime representative Paul Shefrin telling PEOPLE in a statement: “Emmy-Award winning iconic comedian Don Rickles passed away at his home Los Angeles this morning (Thursday) as a result of kidney failure.”

“Rickles would have turned 91 on May 8. Rickles also had great success as an actor and best-selling author,” he continued. “He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Barbara, as well as their daughter Mindy Mann and her husband Ed, and Rickles’ two grandchildren, Ethan and Harrison Mann.”

Rickles got his start performing in nightclubs before making his film debut in the 1958 drama Run Silent Run Deep. He went on to star in several more films, and became a regular on Dean Martin’s Celebrity Roasts. He also voiced Mr. Potato Head in the Toy Story franchise.

His memory lives on through his decades of film and television work, as well as the countless entertainers who were influenced by his trademark one-liners, comebacks and zinging insults.

“He was called ‘The Merchant of Venom,’ but in truth, he was one of the kindest, caring and most sensitive human beings we have ever known,” close friends Bob and Ginnie Newhart said in a joint statement. “We are devastated and our world will never be the same. We were totally unprepared for this.”

“I’ve known Don Rickles almost 65 years since we first met as teenagers. I can only imagine his first conversation with God. He might send him back,” actor Steven Lawrence said in a statement. “I love him and I miss him; The world is a sadder place without him.”

Estelle Harris, who played Mrs. Potato Head alongside Rickles in the Toy Story films, tells PEOPLE, “I mourn the loss of my little ‘spud’ and wish his family my deepest condolences. It was an honor getting to know him and work with him later in life after admiring his many talents for decades. He truly was a King of comedy — his bombastic humor will be celebrated for a very long time and he will be greatly missed.”

Robert DeNiro called Rickles a “great man with a great heart.”

“I’m a little disappointed with Don. He had promised me he would live to be at least 95,” De Niro said in a statement. “In all seriousness, he was not only a great friend, he was a great man with a great heart.  I really loved the guy. I will miss him.”

Many others took to Twitter to pay tribute to the legendary star:

Director Martin Scorsese told PEOPLE, “Don Rickles was a giant, a legend … and I can hear his voice now, skewering me for being so lofty.

“I had the honor of working with him on my picture Casino. He was a professional. He kept me doubled over with laughter every day on the set – yet he was a complete pro. We became friends over the years and I had the honor of being roasted by him more than once – sometimes when I didn’t expect it. He just started showing up at places and insulting me.

“Experiencing Don, and tuning into his mind, I witnessed the evolution of his comedy. It was like listening to a great jazz musician wail. Nobody else did what he did. He made comedy into an art form. And like all geniuses, comic or otherwise, he’s irreplaceable. He was much loved. I’m really missing this man.”

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