Harold Ramis—the writer, producer, actor, and director who contributed directly to the formation of modern comedy cinema with his work in such films as Animal House, Caddyshack, Meatballs, Stripes, and Back to School (not to mention the twin towers of comedy in the past 30 years, Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day)—has died.  He was 69 years old.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Ramis has passed due to complications related to blood vessel swelling, as a symptom of the rare autoimmune disease inflammatory vasculitis.

Though most casual moviegoers will know and likely remember Ramis best for his acting work as Egon Spengler in the still-perfect Ghostbusters and its sequel, Ghostbusters 2, Ramis was a pillar of modern comedy cinema, co-writing and directing the classics noted above.  Ghostbusters alone changed the face of comedy films, and Groundhog Day is still one the most perfect films and scripts to emerge from the 1990s, comedy or otherwise.

Further, his contribution to the “slobs vs. snobs” comedy genre of the 1980s via works such as Caddyshack, Meatballs, Animal House, Back to School, as well as National Lampoon and Second City Television is simply immeasurable.  Modern comedy simply does not exist without Harold Ramis.  He will be dearly missed.

What is your favorite Ramis film?