Comedian and Saturday Night Live star Norm Macdonald passed away on Tuesday at the age of 61 after a nine-year battle with cancer.

The comedian never told anyone about his illness because he didn’t want it to impact the way people saw him on stage, according to Lori Jo Hoekstra, his longtime friend who was with him during his final moments.

“He was most proud of his comedy,” Hoekstra told Deadline. “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.”

Macdonald was a cast member on SNL from 1993-1998, most famous for his “Weekend Update” segments where he put on a parody newscast making fun of the current headlines. He left his impact on the segment by changing it from the slapstick style comedy to a political commentary.

Macdonald was born in Quebec City, Canada on October 17, 1959. He started his career by working in comedy clubs in Canada, before landing a writing job on The Dennis Miller Show. He went on to write for Roseanne, before catching his big break on Saturday Night Live.

After working on SNL, Macdonald had a successful career, creating his own comedy series Norm and having reoccurring roles on other shows.

He was scheduled to be in the New York Comedy Festival lineup in November.

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