The worlds of comedy and pop culture were stunned and saddened Tuesday, as legendary comic and former Saturday Night Live cast member Norm Mcdonald died of cancer at the age of 61. 

It was extra stunning news because very few people knew Macdonald was even sick, and word came out after his death that he had been privately battling the disease for the past nine years. 

He was 61 years old. 

Macdonald was an SNL cast member from 1993-1998, and was loved as the anchor of the “Weekend Update” newscast for three seasons. 

One of his most popular characters he played on the show as the gum-chopping Burt Reynolds, who would give Will Ferrell’s Alex Trebek character a hard time on the fictional Celebrity Jeopardy skit. 

He was a regular on all the late night talk shows, and it was common for Macdonald to leave the hosts of the biggest network talk shows in stitches with his dead pan delivery and snide sense of humor. 

Here’s what David Letterman wrote about Macdonald in a tweet. 

“In every important way, in the world of stand-up, Norm was the best. An opinion shared by me and all peers. Always up to something, never certain, until his matter-of-fact delivery leveled you. I was always delighted by his bizarre mind and earnest gaze. (I’m trying to avoid using the phrase, “twinkle in his eyes”). He was a lifetime Cy Young winner in comedy. Gone, but impossible to forget.”

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