Norm MacDonald Cause of Death: How Did SNL Cast Member Die?

norm macdonald

Getty Norm MacDonald

Norm MacDonald, who spent years as a popular member of Saturday Night Live, has died at the age of 61, according to Deadline.

What was Norm MacDonald’s cause of death? How did he die? He died of cancer, which he had fought for nine years, Deadline reported. According to Daily Variety, MacDonald kept his cancer diagnosis secret from the public.

Deadline confirmed his death through his management firm and longtime friend Lori Jo Hoekstra.

“Norm Macdonald may have been the funniest person alive. He took the craft of comedy so seriously and was absolutely peerless. RIP,” wrote a fan on Twitter.

Here’s what you need to know:


He Was ‘Most Proud of His Comedy,’ a Friend Says

norm macdonald

GettyNEW YORK, NY – APRIL 28: (L-R) Colin Quinn, Chevy Chase and Norm MacDonald speak onstage at The Comedy Awards 2012 at Hammerstein Ballroom on April 28, 2012 in New York City.

MacDonald is probably best known as the host of SNL’s Weekend Update, which he would start by saying, “Now the fake news.”

“He was most proud of his comedy,” Hoekstra said to Deadline. “He never wanted the diagnosis to affect the way the audience or any of his loved ones saw him. 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.”

According to Variety, MacDonald’s impersonations included Burt Reynolds, David Letterman, Larry King, and Quentin Tarantino.

MacDonald hadn’t updated his Facebook page since 2020. His website was defunct with only the message “check back soon.”


MacDonald, Who Was Born in Canada, Was Also a Writer on Well-Known Comedy Shows

Norm MacDonald

GettyFormer “Saturday Night Live” comedian Norm MacDonald died on September 14 “after a long and private battle with cancer,” Deadline confirmed. The star is pictured in 2011.

According to his IMDB bio, MacDonald was born in Canada and got his start in stand-up comedy. Before joining the SNL cast, he was a comedy writer in Hollywood for such shows as The Dennis Miller Show (1992) and Roseanne (1988), IMDB reports. SNL’s Lorne Michaels noticed him through that work.

He was on SNL from 1994 through 1997. According to IMDB, he was divorced and left behind a son named Dylan Lloyd MacDonald.


Tributes Flowed on Social Media for Norm MacDonald

Tributes flowed for MacDonald on social media.

Sports writer Bill Simmons wrote, “RIP Norm MacDonald who made me laugh harder than just about anyone ever.”

Here are some of the other tributes for MacDonald on Twitter:

“Heartbroken, @normmacdonald you will be forever known as a genius. RIP.”

“Norm Macdonald died as he lived, a true enigma who was beyond comparison and without peers. RIP.”

“Was just talking to my sister a couple days ago about the good old days of SNL, specifically Norm Macdonald as Burt Reynolds in Celeb Jeopardy… RIP legend.”

“Just sitting here watching clips of Norm MacDonald and laughing despite being crushed. So long and thanks for the laughs, Norm.”

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