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US comedian Norm Macdonald dies at 61

American comedian Norm Macdonald, a former Saturday Night Live writer and performer during the 1990s, has died.

Macdonald, 61, died on Tuesday after a nine-year battle with cancer that he kept private, according to Brillstein Entertainment Partners, his management firm in Los Angeles.

The son of two schoolteachers raised in Quebec City, Canada, Macdonald was a stand-up comic and briefly a writer for the sitcom Roseanne when he was picked to join the cast of SNL in 1993.

After leaving the show in 1998, he created and starred in the comedy The Norm Show, playing a former NHL player kicked out of the league for gambling and tax evasion and forced into community service as a social worker.

He became known for his esoteric impressions, including Burt Reynolds, who gave Will Ferrell's Alex Trebek character grief on Celebrity Jeopardy.

He also impersonated Bob Dole, Larry King and David Letterman.

Macdonald was anchor on the Weekend Update desk on SNL in a prime era for news-based jokes, with Bill Clinton, Michael Jackson and O.J. Simpson frequent targets.

© AP 2021