Saturday Night Live comedian Norm Macdonald dies of cancer aged 61

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Saturday Night Live star Norm Macdonald has died at the age of 61, after a private battle with cancer for the last nine years.

The comedian’s producing partner Lori Jo Hoekstra along with his management firm confirmed his death, Deadline has reported.

The star was a firm favourite on SNL and regularly had audiences and viewers in stitches when he did the chat show rounds, and was a beloved comedian in American television.

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

“Norm was a pure comic,” the producer continued.

"He once wrote that ‘a joke should catch someone by surprise, it should never pander.’

“He certainly never pandered. Norm will be missed terribly,” Hoekstra added.

The Canadian TV star died with the producer by his side, after spending nearly a decade keeping his battle with the disease private.

Tributes have poured in for Macdonald, who first joined SNL in 1993, before retiring from the popular programme in 1998.

Fellow comic Matt Oswalt wrote: “One of the funniest motherf*****s to ever live.

“Somewhere he's reading all our tributes and making the most crass, inappropriate, and hysterical comments about them. RIP Norm Macdonald.”

“Norm MacDonald was my OG Weekend Update anchor and a pantheon level late night guest,” Arrow actor Stephen Amell praised. “So funny, witty, irreverent and understated.

“The comedy world just lost a 1 of 1. RIP.”

As well as his highly-praised TV work, Macdonald has also appeared in films alongside the likes of Adam Sandler and has voiced a number of cartoon characters.

The well-liked industry great also authored a book.

The actor is survived by his son Dylan Macdonald.

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