He was 61 years old.
Macdonald had been battling cancer for several years, but he kept his diagnosis private, his friend and producer partner Lori Jo Hoekstra told Granthshala in a statement.
“He was most proud of his comedy. He never wanted the diagnosis to affect the way audiences or loved ones saw him,” Hoekstra said. “Norm was pure humour. He once wrote that ‘A joke should take one by surprise, it should never go astray.’ He certainly never strays. Norm will be greatly missed.”
Born in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, he started out in show business as a standup comedian, working the Ottawa club circuit before moving to clubs across Canada.
He quickly became known for his deadpan and sardonic delivery, and in 1987 he was given the opportunity to perform at the “Just for Laughs” comedy festival in Los Angeles.
That first taste of LA made an impression, and Macdonald moved to the city with the intention of entering Hollywood. He got the writing job for the original “Roseanne” sitcom in 1992.
He joined the cast of “Saturday Night Live” the following year, where he became known for his impressions of David Letterman, Larry King, Burt Reynolds, Quentin Tarantino and others.
But it was as anchor for the news dispatch segment “Weekend Update” where Macdonald made his strides.
He held this position from 1994 to 1998.
Macdonald was suddenly and unintentionally removed as anchor of “Weekend Update”, a decision made by then-NBC West Coast president Don Olmeier. Although it was reported that the executive did not like Macdonald in that role, there were reports that Macdonald joked about OJ Simpson, one of Ohmyer’s longtime friends.
Fellow comedians Jon Stewart, Patton Oswalt, Seth Rogen and others paid tribute to McDonald on Tuesday.
Credit : www.cnn.com