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The late actor, writer and director Harold Ramis was renowned worldwide for his body of work, but much of his success has roots in Chicago, the city where he was born. LeeAnn Trotter reports.
Like other memorials, Obama praised Ramis for his comedic genius and legendary filmmaking talent.
"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," Obama wrote. "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."
Obama also paid tribute to one of Ramis' most well-known movies, "Caddyshack."
"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 part of the statement quotes a well-known Bill Murray anecdote from the movie.
Ramis passed away Monday at age 69 after struggling with an autoimmune disease.
He is known for his extensive resume of comedy classics, including “Ghostbusters,” Illinois-based “Groundhog Day," “National Lampoon’s Animal House" and “Stripes,” among many others.
Ramis suffered from a rare disease involving swelling of blood vessels called autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, and underwent surgery for diverticulitis in 2010. He suffered complications and spent time at the Mayo Clinic and Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. Ramis relapsed less than two years later, the Tribune reports, and never fully recovered.
Andrew Alexander, CEO and executive producer of The Second City called Ramis "a natural leader, a trusted friend and so generous with his own talent that he made everyone he ever worked with look like a genius."
"We are devastated to lose him so young," Alexander said, "but we were all enriched by the years we did get to partake of his particular brilliance.”