Norm Macdonald Has Died Following a Private Battle with Cancer

The legendary Canadian comic was 61.
Mack Lamoureux
Toronto, CA
September 14, 2021, 7:12pm
Legendary comedian Norm Macdonald died this morning, multiple outlets are reporting.
Norm McDonald performs during KAABOO Del Mar at Del Mar Fairgrounds on
September 16, 2017 in Del Mar, California. (Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)

Legendary comedian Norm Macdonald died this morning, multiple outlets are reporting. 

Macdonald, known for his deadpan delivery and anti-humour style, was reportedly battling cancer in private for over nine years. 

Lori Jo Hoekstra, a close friend of Macdonald who co-produced many of his projects and was reportedly at his side when he died, told Deadline that Macdonald was “most proud of his comedy.” 


“He never wanted the diagnosis to affect the way the audience or any of his loved ones saw him,” Hoekstra 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.”

The 61-year-old was born in 1959 in Quebec City, where he was raised. He began doing comedy in Ottawa in the 1980s and eventually worked his way up to doing the Just for Laughs festivals. 

A successful standup comedian for decades, Macdonald also had a well-loved stint on Saturday Night Live  from 1993 to 1998 where, for a time, he hosted Weekend Update (and portrayed Burt Reynolds in Celebrity Jeopardy.) Following that he had a sitcom called The Norm Show from 1999 to 2001 and hosted a Netflix program in 2018. 

He regularly appeared on late-night talk shows—including one appearance on Conan O'Brien where he told a joke about a moth that lives in infamy—and would take part in Comedy Central Roasts. Tributes are pouring in for the comedian online since the recent announcement of his passing. 

“No one could make you break like Norm Macdonald,” wrote Jon Stewart on Twitter. “Hilarious and unique. Fuck cancer.”

Many others have since echoed that sentiment.

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