After serving as host of the telethon since 1966, comedian Jerry Lewis has been pulled from the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s annual Labor Day fundraiser.
In an announcement Wednesday night, MDA chairman of the board of directors R. Rodney Howell, M.D. said the 85-year-old comedian will be replaced as MDA national chairman, as well.
Lewis — whose telethons have raised more than $2 billion for the MDA cause — announced his retirement from the event in May, but had planned to make the upcoming Sept. 4 MDA telethon his last.
However, the comedian's poor health — he cancelled a recent gig in Sydney, Australia — might have led to the scuttling of those plans.
"Jerry Lewis is a world-class humanitarian, and we're forever grateful to him for his more than half century of generous service to MDA,” Howell added.
MDA’s new host has not yet been announced.
Also read: TCA: Jerry Lewis Kills at Encore Panel
The veteran actor, who struggles with a debilitating back condition, heart issues and pulmonary fibrosis will appear in the documentary “Method to the Madness of Jerry Lewis” airing on Encore October 22. The special features rare footage of Lewis in action, as well as comments from the likes of Jerry Seinfeld, Eddie Murphy, Quentin Tarantino, and Alec Baldwin sharing appreciation for the legend.