Films like Ghostbusters, Stripes, and Groundhog Day long ago earned their indelible places in film history, and with them cemented Harold Ramis role as one of our most beloved writer/directors. He passed away early this morning as a result of complications stemming from a rare blood vessel disease.
He leaves behind, of course, a hugely admired body of work that includes so many classics, it would probably be easier to tell you the great comedies of the 80s and 90s with which he wasn’t involved. Writing credits alone for Ramis include Animal House, Stripes, Caddyshack, and Ghostbusters, plus director credits for National Lampoon’s Vacation, Groundhog Day, and Analyze This.
Ramis passed away as a result of complications from autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, which swells blood vessels. He had been battling serious health issues since mid-2010, when an infection aggravated the complications related to his autoimmune disease. He eventually had to relearn to walk and regain other motor skills, but his vasculitis reappeared again in 2011.
Since he passed away, fans and friends have begun sending out condolences via Twitter:
Sad to hear my friend Harold Ramis passed away. A brilliant, funny, actor and director. A wonderful husband and dad. Big loss to us all. bc
— Billy Crystal (@BillyCrystal) February 24, 2014
Harold Ramis was a brilliant, shining example for every comedy writer hoping to achieve excellence the field. He will be sorely missed.
— Seth MacFarlane (@SethMacFarlane) February 24, 2014
RIP Harold Ramis. Was privileged to work w/ him on Bedazzled. Great director, hilarious writer/actor & truly wonderful man. You'll be missed
— Orlando Jones (@TheOrlandoJones) February 24, 2014
If a Twinkie represents amount of grief I feel when someone dies, Harold Ramis' death would be a Twinkie 35 feet long weighing 600 pounds.
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) February 24, 2014
RIP Harold Ramis. GHOSTBUSTERS and STRIPES were iconic classics played by the iconic straight man.
— Michael Eisner (@Michael_Eisner) February 24, 2014
"I collect spores, molds, and fungus" - condolences to the family and friends of the great Harold Ramis
— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) February 24, 2014
HAROLD RAMIS = PARTY MASTER OF LAUGHTER AND JOY.
— ANDREW WK (@AndrewWK) February 24, 2014
Aside from his accomplished career, Ramis is survived by his sons Daniel and Julian Ramis, and his wife, Erica Mann Ramis. Friends called him a “campfire that we all gathered around for light and warmth and knowledge.”
And, in some small way, that’s what we did too. That process, for what it’s worth, will likely always continue.