"He was able to celebrate his life, and he got the chance to go out the way he wanted to," friend George Shapiro said of Carl Reiner, who died on Monday

By Benjamin VanHoose
July 03, 2020 01:27 PM
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Carl Reiner's final days were filled with laughs and time with loved ones, according to pal George Shapiro.

The legendary stand-up comedian, actor, director, producer, writer and singer died at age 98 of natural causes at his Beverly Hills home on Monday night, his assistant Judy Nagy confirmed to PEOPLE.

Shapiro, 89, told Variety on Friday that Reiner was able to share moments with his family and friends prior to his death, reflecting on his life and happiness to his three children Rob, Annie and Lucas, whom he shared with wife Estelle, who died in 2008.

"He was able to tell Rob just a few days ago how he’d accomplished everything he ever wanted to by having a great family and the great creativity that he’d been part of in his career," said Shapiro, who's known for producing Seinfeld. "He was a happy man."

According to Variety, Reiner spent his last days at home watching shows like Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune with friend Mel Brooks. He collapsed at about 10 p.m. on Monday.

"He didn’t fall too hard. It was a gentle buckling of the knees," Shapiro said. "He went out within three minutes. He didn’t suffer. Everybody wants to go that way.”

George Shapiro and Carl Reiner in May 2017
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

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Shapiro added: "The sad part is you feel sorry for yourself that we’re going to miss him. The good part is that he was able to celebrate his life, and he got the chance to go out the way he wanted to."

Close friend Brooks, 94, paid tribute to Reiner in a statement earlier this week, saying that he "loved him." The two met in 1950 on  Your Show of Shows and remained friends since.

"Carl was a giant, unmatched in his contributions to entertainment. He created comedy gems like The Dick Van Dyke ShowThe Jerk and Where’s Poppa?" said Brooks. "When we were doing The 2000 Year Old Man together, there was no better straight man in the world."

"Whether he wrote or performed or he was just your best friend — nobody could do it better. He’ll be greatly missed," said Brooks. "A tired cliché in times like this, but in Carl Reiner’s case it’s absolutely true. He will be greatly missed."

On Tuesday, Reiner's son Rob, 73, mourned his father on Twitter, writing that he was his "guiding light."

"Last night my dad passed away," wrote Rob, a director (like his father) known for romantic comedy classics like When Harry Met Sally and The Princess Bride. "As I write this my heart is hurting. He was my guiding light."