Multi-hyphenate star Harold Ramis, best known for his work as Dr. Egon Spengler in the Ghostbusters franchise, has died at the age of 69 due to complications stemming from autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis. As first reported by the Chicago Tribune, Ramis died surrounded by family, including his wife, Erica Mann Ramis, early this morning.
Ramis began to experience symptoms associated with autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis in 2010. Autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis is a rare pulmonary disease which causes blood vessels to swell, somewhat paradoxically limiting the flow of blood and therefore oxygen, leading to organ damage. Ramis has struggled with the disease since his diagnosis, most notably suffering a relapse in 2011.
Ramis’s most recognizable acting roles came in the Ghostbusters films, but his body of notable comic work quickly swells when considering both his writing and directing credits. Ramis broke onto the scene in 1978 with the release of Animal House, which he wrote, and followed it up two years later by writing and directing Caddyshack. Through the ’80s and ’90s, Ramis was a comic mainstay, involved with films such as Stripes (1981), National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983), Groundhog Day (1993), and Analyze This (1999). Although he became less prolific in the 21st century, he continued to work with parts in Knocked Up and Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story as well as occasional behind-the-camera efforts like 2009’s Year One starring Jack Black and Michael Cera.
As for future projects which must now forge on without Ramis, the long gestating Ghostbusters 3 is the only one that has been linked to him at all lately; Ramis co-wrote and voiced Egon in a Ghostbusters video game in 2009, and Dan Aykroyd has been active in recent years trying to put together a go project. Things have been quiet on that front for a while, however, and now it seems less likely than ever that another Ghostbusters sequel will actually make it to the big screen.