Norm Macdonald privately battled cancer for nine years

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Norm Macdonald, a comedian best known for being a cast member on Saturday Night Live, has died after privately battling cancer for nine years. He was 61.

Macdonald died Tuesday and his friend and longtime producing partner Lori Jo Hoekstra told Deadline that "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," she continued. "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."

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News of Macdonald's passing sparked emotional and heartfelt reactions from stars across social media.

David Letterman said in a statement, also shared to Twitter, "In every important way, in the world of stand-up, Norm was the best. An opinion shared by me and all peers. Always up to something, never certain, until his matter-of-fact delivery leveled you. I was always delighted by his bizarre mind and earnest gaze. (I'm trying to avoid using the phrase, 'twinkle in his eyes'). He was a lifetime Cy Young winner in comedy. Gone, but impossible to forget."

"We loved Norm MacDonald. One of a kind," Steve Martin wrote in response to Patton Oswalt's tweet, which read, "Oh my God what is even happening. Good bye, Norm. You were never not 100% hilarious."

Said Conan O'Brien, "I am absolutely devastated about Norm Macdonald. Norm had the most unique comedic voice I have ever encountered and he was so relentlessly and uncompromisingly funny. I will never laugh that hard again. I'm so sad for all of us today."

Seth Rogen shared his admiration for Macdonald's work throughout the years.

"Oh f---. I was a huge fan of Norm Macdonald and I essentially ripped off his delivery when I first started acting," Rogen, 39, tweeted. "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."

Norm Macdonald
Credit: Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Jim Carrey tweeted: "My dear friend Norm MacDonald passed after a brave 10 year battle. He was one of our most precious gems. An honest and courageous comedy genius. I love him."

Responding to Deadline's tweet about Macdonald's passing, Meghan McCain wrote on Twitter: "Gutted."

"One of the great comedic geniuses, free thinkers, all around true originals of all time," The View alum, 36, continued. "[My husband] Ben [Domenech] 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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Jon Stewart tweeted that "no one could make you break like Norm Macdonald," calling the late comedian both "hilarious and unique." Stewart, 58, added: "F--- cancer."

"Of the many addictive rabbit holes you can disappear down on the internet, the most pleasurable is 'Norm MacDonald chat show appearances,'" director Edgar Wright tweeted. "Thanks for all the laughs Norm, very sorry to see you go."

Alongside a broken heart emoji, Whitney Cummings wrote: "Norm is the pinnacle of bravery and originality."

Gilbert Gottfried remembered Macdonald by sharing a picture of the pair alongside Bob Saget and Jeff Ross. "This photo was taken after I was a guest on Norm's show. At dinner, the laughs just continued nonstop," Gottfried, 66, tweeted. "He will be missed. RIP Norm Macdonald."

Ike Barinholtz said he "got so many laughs in my life by just repeating Norm MacDonald jokes," noting that he was "one of the funniest to ever do it."

Dane Cook reflected on Macdonald's legacy. "Norm MacDonald, 61, has died of that damn cancer. He leaves behind a thousand clips online that are all funny," Cook, 49, tweeted. "He had a way about him you could never describe, you could only tell someone... 'just watch him and laugh.'"

"Today is a sad day. All of us here at SNL mourn the loss of Norm Macdonald, one of the most impactful comedic voices of his or any other generation. There are so many things that we'll miss about Norm — from his unflinching integrity to his generosity to his consistent ability to surprise," a rep for SNL said on behalf of the show. "But most of all he was just plain funny. No one was funny like Norm."

Macdonald was a Saturday Night Live cast member from 1993 to 1998. During his time on the NBC sketch comedy, he also anchored the show's Weekend Update segment for three seasons.

In recent years, Macdonald appeared on Mike Tyson Mysteries, The Orville and The Middle.