“Michelle and I were saddened to hear of the passing of Harold Ramis, one of America’s greatest satirists, and like so many other comedic geniuses, a proud product of Chicago’s Second City,” President Obama said in a statement released through the White House on Tuesday morning. ” When we watched his movies – from ‘Animal House’ and ‘Caddyshack’ to ‘Ghostbusters’ and ‘Groundhog Day’ – we didn’t just laugh until it hurt. We questioned authority. We identified with the outsider. We rooted for the underdog. And through it all, we never lost our faith in happy endings. Our thoughts and prayers are with Harold’s wife, Erica, his children and grandchildren, and all those who loved him, who quote his work with abandon, and who hope that he received total consciousness.”
The last line, of course, is a nod to Bill Murray‘s famous remarks in “Caddyshack.”
Ramis, who passed due to complications from auto-immune inflammatory vasculitis, a rare disease that causes swelling of the blood vessels, was praised throughout the comedy world, with collaborators and admirers displaying deep reverence for his work.
“Harold Ramis made almost every movie which made me want to become a comedy director,” director Judd Apatow said. “I interviewed him when I was 16 years old for my high school radio station and he could not have been more gracious and hilarious. I looked up to him as a director but even more so as a man. We hired him to play Seth’s father in ‘Knocked Up’ because we all saw him as the dream dad – funny, warm and wise. Harold was one of the nicest people I have ever met and he inspired countless people to go into comedy. His brilliant work will make people happy forever.”