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Louie Anderson, the Emmy-winning comedian and Coming to America actor, died Friday at age 68.
The Baskets star and Family Feud host had been battling diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), the most common type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in the U.S., and was hospitalized in Las Vegas earlier this week. On Friday, his publicist announced his death.
A rep for Anderson — who was was known for his stand-up, but also work in film and TV — has not yet responded to Yahoo Entertainment's request for comment.
FX, the network on which Baskets aired from 2016 to 2019, issued a statement, saying, "We are so deeply saddened by the passing of our dear friend, Louie Anderson. For four wonderful seasons, Louie graced us and fans of Baskets with a bravura performance as Christine Baskets, for which he deservedly was recognized by his peers with the Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. It was a risky role for him and he embraced it with a fearlessness and joy that demonstrated his brilliance as an artist. He truly cared about his craft and was a true professional in every sense. Our hearts go out to his loved ones and his Baskets family – Zach Galifianakis, Jonathan Krisel and Martha Kelly and all the cast and crew. He will be missed by us all but never forgotten and always bring a smile to our faces."
Anderson was of humble beginnings. Born in Minnesota, the 10th of 11 children, he grew up poor with an alcoholic father. In 1984, he made his network TV debut doing standup on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show. During that set, he used his weight as a punchline — something he did throughout his career.
Anderson went on to star in his own solo comedy specials — the most recent was 2018's Louie Anderson: Big Underwear — and headlined comedy tours.
After his Tonight Show debut, Anderson just missed out on starring in Perfect Strangers — appearing in the 1985 pilot but being replaced by Mark Linn-Baker in the series — but he went on to find success elsewhere.
In 1986, he appeared in the singing telegram scene of Ferris Bueller and then in 1988 was a McDowell's fast-food employee alongside Eddie Murphy in Coming to America, returning for the 2021 sequel. He also starred in 1988's The Wrong Guys.
Anderson's childhood provided material for his 1990s Fox animated series Life with Louie, for which he won two Daytime Emmys. He also won a Primetime Emmy in 2016 for his performance in the FX's Baskets. He played Christine Baskets, the mother of two twin sons played by Zach Galifianakis. He also created and starred in the short-lived The Louie Show for CBS.
Anderson also had success with game shows. He hosted Family Feud from 1999 to 2002 and appeared on many others, including many episodes of Hollywood Squares, The New Hollywood Squares, Weakest Link and others.
He also wrote books based on his family life, including The F Word: How to Survive Your Family, Dear Dad: Letters from an Adult Child and Hey Mom: Stories for My Mother, But You Can Read Them Too.
The star had health issues, including a heart ailment that necessitated two surgeries in 2003.
During the pandemic, he lost more than 40 pounds and weighed in at 340. He planned to keep going, he said, noting a goal weight of 275.
It's unclear when he was diagnosed with cancer. Following news of his hospitalization, fellow comedian Pauly Shore shared on Twitter Thursday that his family and friends were holding vigil at his hospital bedside. Shore said he visited to say goodbye.
Here are some of the social media tributes following news of his death:
A singular comic. No one in comedy did what he did. 💔 pic.twitter.com/k9YPFP78gi
— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) January 21, 2022
This photo is very sad now. RIP Bob Saget and RIP Louie Anderson. Both good friends that will be missed. pic.twitter.com/DLJ8Ntt7LN
— Gilbert Gottfried (@RealGilbert) January 21, 2022
Heaven has a hell of an open mic night goin' right about now. Everybody gets the light. You'll be missed. Louie. What an awesome friend. One in a million. Also pictured, the very much alive @kathleenmadigan, who has promised not to die this year. https://t.co/YkW4BSel38 pic.twitter.com/BlkHv5wuLl
— George Wallace (@MrGeorgeWallace) January 21, 2022
Louie was a comedian I saw as a high schooler in Kansas City. To meet him and get to know him in LA so many years later was very much highlight and a pinch me moment. He was a very kind man. Rest In Peace, Louie and don’t forget ‘the cranberries!!’ https://t.co/Gbc9k2cCEr
— Eric Stonestreet (@ericstonestreet) January 21, 2022
Baskets was such a phenomenal “second act” for Louie Anderson. I wish he’d gotten a third. RIP
— Michael McKean (@MJMcKean) January 21, 2022
Louie Anderson : Your generosity of spirit will cover the world from above .. we are so lucky you were on earth for a moment , spreading your humor all over like bars of living gold .. Good Bye
— Henry Winkler (@hwinkler4real) January 21, 2022
RIP Louie Anderson! You were as gracious and kind as you were funny. Rest well!! Keep 'em laughing in Heaven ❤️https://t.co/c9tEjNOOwg
— Viola Davis (@violadavis) January 21, 2022
— Kristen Schaal (@kristenschaaled) January 21, 2022
Love to Louie. When my mother was in the hospital and told me he sent her flowers I thought at first it must be a sepsis-induced hallucination, but it was true, and it’s the sort of thing Louie does all the time. A very sweet, thoughtful, funny man. https://t.co/nEdrSQElbS
— John Levenstein (@johnlevenstein) January 21, 2022
— Jane Lynch (@janemarielynch) January 21, 2022
Minnesota native Louie Anderson was a pioneer in comedy who spent his life bringing humor and laughter into our world. Our entire state and country will forever miss his talent. My family is thinking of his friends and loved ones today.
— Governor Tim Walz (@GovTimWalz) January 21, 2022
— SAG-AFTRA (@sagaftra) January 21, 2022
Emmy-winning actor and comedian Louie Anderson has sadly passed away, at the age of 68. The Television Academy sends its condolences to his loved ones at this time. pic.twitter.com/1Ad6bTZgCG
— Television Academy (@TelevisionAcad) January 21, 2022
Louie Anderson made us laugh so much. Rest in Peace pic.twitter.com/A28BZQh6xC
— Funny Or Die (@funnyordie) January 21, 2022