BY NOWAL MASSARI
Harold Ramis, actor, director and writer, has passed away at 69. The Chicago native is responsible for many modern comedy classics, such as "Animal House," "Caddyshack," "Groundhog Day," and "Ghostbusters." According to the Chicago Tribune, Ramis' wife Erica revealed that his death was caused by complications from autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis; a rare disease of the blood vessels that Ramis had been suffering from since 2010.
Ramis began his career in comedy in 1969 as a member of Chicago's Second City improv troupe, along side future greats John Belushi, Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd. While he will be forever remembered for his entire filmography, to the paranormal community he will forever live in our hearts as Dr. Egon Spengler of "Ghostbusters."
Celebrities have taken to social media to express their grief at losing such a phenomenal human being. Dan Aykroyd took to his personal Facebook page to say "Deeply saddened to hear of the passing of my brilliant, gifted, funny friend, co-writer/performer and teacher Harold Ramis. May he now get the answers he was always seeking."
Bill Murray said in a statement "Harold Ramis and I together did 'The National Lampoon Show' off-Broadway, 'Meatballs,' 'Stripes,' 'Caddyshack,' 'Ghostbusters' and 'Groundhog Day.' He earned his keep on this planet, God bless him."
Comedian Patton Oswalt brought it home with the humor that Ramis was known for, by tweeting, "If a Twinkie represents amount of grief I feel when someone dies, Harold Ramis' death would be a Twinkie 35 feet long weighing 600 pounds."
In 1983, Paul Weingarten of the "Chicago Tribune" wrote "More than anyone else, Harold Ramis has shaped this generation's ideas of what is funny." In 2004, "The New Yorker" magazine published an article by writer Tad Friend that compared Ramis' impact on comedy to that of Elvis Presley on rock and Eminem on rap.
Harold Ramis is survived by his wife Erica Mann Ramis, his three children and his two grandchildren.
Speaking on a personal level for a moment, I can honestly say that Harold Ramis as Egon was one of my first crushes and is responsible for my love of brainy nerds. While my cousins all fought over who got to "be Venkman" when we played "Ghostbusters," I was always the first (and only) to claim the role of Dr. Spengler.