CHICAGO, Feb. 24 (UPI) -- Harold Ramis died Monday at age 69 from complications from an autoimmune disease.
Ramis was well-known and loved for his comedic writing, acting, and directing. His accomplishments include writing and starring in Ghostbusters, directing Groundhog Day, and writing and directing Caddyshack, Analyze This and Analyze That.
A Chicago native, Ramis left Los Angeles and returned to the Windy City in 1996. Although his career was thriving, he wished to return to a place where, "There's pride in what I do that other people share because I'm local, which in LA is meaningless; no one's local."
Ramis launched his career in Chicago, studying and performing with the city's Second City improv and comedy troupe. Many feel Ramis embodied Second City's edict to work at the top of one's intelligence, an aspiration he met in his wildly funny but cerebral works. Many comedic actors and directors, including Adam Sandler and Judd Apatow, have cited Ramis as an inspiration.
The writer and director was also beloved for his humility and genuine interest in other people. Late Second City founder Bernie Sahlins said of Ramis in 1999, "He's the least changed by success of anyone I know in terms of humor, of humility, sense of self. He's the same Harold he was 30 years ago. He's had enormous success...but none of it has gone to his head in any way."
Ramis had fallen very ill in recent years, beginning in May 2010 when an infection led to complications related to his autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis. Autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis is a rare disease that involves swelling of the blood vessels, and Ramis had suffered a relapse in late 2011.
[The Chicago Tribune]