Richard Lewis, one of the greatest standup comedians in history, has died. He was 76 years old. The cause of death was a heart attack.

Deadline confirmed Lewis’ death with his publicist, Jeff Abraham. Lewis had previously announced in April of last year that he had been diagnosed several years earlier with Parkinson’s disease.

“That was about two years ago,” Lewis said at the time. “But luckily I got it late in life and they say you progress very slowly if at all, and I’m on the right meds. So I’m cool.”

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Born in Brooklyn in 1947, Lewis started doing standup comedy in New York City in the early 1970s while making a living in the advertising world. His career took off after he started getting booked on talk shows in the mid 1970s; by the 1980s he was a late-night mainstay who appeared regularly on The Tonight Show and Late Night With David Letterman. He was a ubiquitous presence on television doing standup all through the 1980s and ’90s.

Lewis was always best known as a standup comedian, but he made numerous appearances in films and television shows. One of his funniest roles was as Prince John in Mel Brooks’ Robin Hood: Men in Tights.

In recent years, Lewis became a fixture on Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, playing a loosely fictionalized version of himself. As on the show, David and Lewis were lifelong friends; they actually went to summer camp together as kids.

After the news of Lewis’ passing broke online, David gave this statement on his friend and co-star’s passing:

Richard and I were born three days apart in the same hospital and for most of my life he’s been like a brother to me. He had that rare combination of being the funniest person and also the sweetest. But today he made me sob, and for that I’ll never forgive him.

Clearly Lewis was not in great health in recent years, but that doesn’t make his passing any sadder or easier to take. He was one of the truly unique voices of his generation of standup comics. He will be dearly missed.

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