Comedian Norm MacDonald privately battled cancer for 9 years. He died earlier today, September 14, 2021, at age 61.

MacDonald was known as a comedian from Saturday Night Live. He joined the cast in 1993 and left the show after he was fired in 1998. Among other roles on the show, he became known for hosting “Weekend Update.” He also did amazing impersonations of people like Burt Reynolds, Larry King, Clint Eastwood and David Letterman.

According to MacDonald’s long-time friend and producing partner, Lori Jo Hoekstra, “He 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. 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.”

Hoekstra was with MacDonald when he died. He was schedule to attend the New York Comedy Festival lineup this coming November.

After leaving SNL, MacDonald worked on a variety of TV shows and movies. He had his own sitcom called “Norm” from 1999-2001. He also appeared on shows like “Girlboss” and “The Middle.” In 2018, he did one season of a talk show for Netflix called “Norm Macdonald Has a Show.” As far as movies, he acted in films including “Billy Madison,” “The People vs. Larry Flynt” and he was the voice of Lucky the dog in Eddie Murphy’s “Doctor Dolittle.”

Many of MacDonald’s fellow comedians are mourning him on Twitter. Steve Martin tweeted, “We loved Norm MacDonald. One of a kind.” Meanwhile, Jim Gaffigan wrote, “We lost a legend. Norm was punishingly funny. A unique special point of view and completely organic. RIPNormMacDonald.”

Does it surprise you that MacDonald kept his battle with cancer a secret for so many years?