Funnyman Garry Shandling has died and his fans and Hollywood pals are mourning.
Shandling, 66, died of a heart attack,according to TMZ after calling 911 for help. His publicist, Alan Nierob, Shandling had no history of heart disease, “zero.”
“There’s nothing suspicious about the case, whatsoever,” Lieutenant Brian Elias of the Los Angeles County medical examiner’s office said.
Shandling, who was Jewish, was born in Chicago and raised in Tuscon, Arizona, the son of Muriel and Irving Shandling.
He was in the business for decades, starting as a writer for TV sitcoms such as “Welcome Back, Kotter” and “Sanford and Son” and doing standup comedy for the “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.”
Shandling has stated that he based “The Larry Sanders Show” — his Emmy-winning HBO series — on his experiences guest-hosting for Carson. The show co-starred Jeffrey Tambor, Rip Torn, Penny Johnson, Janeane Garofalo and Jeremy Piven.
Shandling hosted the Emmys four times from 2000-2004 and hosted the Grammys five times, from 1990-1995.
He opened his first Emmy Show by poking fun at his Jewish roots.
“I auditioned to play the Vice President on ‘The West Wing,’ but they said ‘No, too Jewish’,” he joked, in reference to Joe Lieberman, who was running as vice president in 2000.
Larry Sanders, Shandling’s alter ego, might have been Jewish. In one episode, when he is asked by a reporter whether he is a member of the tribe, Artie, the Larry Sanders Show’s producer played by Rip Torn, replies: “We do not discuss Larry’s religion around here.”
His sudden passing drew a flood of tweets from his pals and fellow celebs, including Kathy Griffin and Amy Schumer.
Heartbreaking news about Garry Shandling. Just heartbreaking.— Seth Meyers (@sethmeyers) March 24, 2016
Sunday, my longtime friend Garry Shandling was here, making every1 laugh. I loved him. I’ll miss our talks the most. pic.twitter.com/Ud8AQXNBXN— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) March 24, 2016
To the funniest and brilliant Garry Shandling. Rest in peace Garry.— bob saget (@bobsaget) March 24, 2016
LARRY SANDERS FOREVER. Such sad news. #RIPGarryShandling— billy eichner (@billyeichner) March 24, 2016
R.I.P. Garry Shandling. I’m so shocked and saddened. He was brilliantly funny, and so kind to me.— Joshua Malina (@JoshMalina) March 24, 2016
Goodbye Gary Shandling thank you for your kindness and your generosity and for making me laugh so damn much— Amy Schumer (@amyschumer) March 24, 2016