Norm Macdonald in 1999. | ABC

His death followed a nine-year private battle with cancer.

Comedian and former ”Saturday Night Live” cast member Norm Macdonald died Tuesday after a private battle with cancer, his manager Marc Gurvitz said. He was 61 years old.

Lori Jo Hoekstra, Macdonald’s friend and producing partner, told Deadline she was with him at the time of his death and that the comedian had been fighting cancer for nine years, but did not wish to share his health struggles with the public.

“He never wanted the diagnosis to affect the way the audience or any of his loved ones saw him,” she said. “Norm was a pure comic. He once wrote that ‘a joke should catch someone by surprise, it should never pander.’ He certainly never pandered. Norm will be missed terribly.”

As an “SNL” cast member from 1993 to 1998, Macdonald was the Weekend Update anchor for three seasons and brought a caustic, deadpan style to the segment. His cutting jokes about O.J. Simpson irritated the NFL star’s friend, NBC exec Don Ohlmeyer, who ordered Macdonald off the fake-news desk.

He also made his mark on the show as an impressionist, portraying Bob Dole during the senator’s 1996 run for president and putting his own spin on celebs including Burt Reynolds, Larry King, David Letterman and Quentin Tarantino.

After “SNL,” he co-wrote and starred in the film “Dirty Work.” He made two attempts at prime-time sitcom success, on “The Norm Show,” which ran three seasons on ABC, and “A Minute With Stan Hooper,” which Fox canceled after six episodes.


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