Gottfried died from recurrent ventricular tachycardia due to myotonic dystrophy type II, a disorder that affects the heart, his publicist and longtime friend Glenn Schwartz said in a statement.
“In addition to being the most iconic voice in comedy, Gilbert was a wonderful husband, brother, friend and father to his two young children. Although today is a sad day for all of us, please keep laughing as loud as possible in Gilbert’s honor,” his family said in a statement posted on Twitter.
Gottfried was a fiercely independent and intentionally bizarre comedian’s comedian, as likely to clear a room with anti-comedy as he was to kill with his jokes.
He first came to national attention with frequent appearances on MTV in its early days and with a brief stint in the cast of “Saturday Night Live” in the 1980s.
Gottfried also did frequent voice work for children’s television and movies, most famously playing the parrot Iago in Disney’s “Aladdin.”
He was particularly fond of doing obscure and dated impressions for as long as he could milk them, including Groucho Marx, Bela Lugosi and Andrew “Dice” Clay.