updated 02/24/2014 AT 4:15 PM ET
•originally published 02/24/2014 AT 4:40 PM ET
We’re losing them too fast, aren’t we? Today comes the sad news that comedy legend Harold Ramis passed away from autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis at age 69. He was old enough to have influenced a generation of comedy writers, from Adam Sandler to Judd Apatow, but gosh, 69 still feels too young.
Most viewers will remember Ramis as Egon Spengler, the dry one in his landmark ‘84 hit Ghostbusters. No, the really dry one – the egghead who strapped Rick Moranis into some sort of cranial contraption to hear him spout about the return of Gozer the Traveler; the one who explained the amount of psychic energy running amok in New York City as equivalent to the size of a 35-foot Twinkie; the guy who issued a grave warning not to cross the streams. (He was wrong about that last one, it turns out.)
Ramis had plenty of other noteworthy roles as well, a gentle, knowing kindness always carrying through. He was Seth Rogen’s sweet, accepting dad in Knocked Up, Diane Keaton’s far less accepting boyfriend in Baby Boom and in Stripes, he played Russell Ziskey, the enlisted man who couldn’t quite believe what he’d gotten himself into, alongside frequent collaborator, Bill Murray, with whom he famously fell out.