Harold Ramis dead at 69; Chicago filmmaker behind 'Ghostbusters', 'Groundhog Day'

February 24, 2014 (CHICAGO)

Ramis died of complications from an auto-immune disease called vasculitis, which he battled for four years, according to his talent agency, United Talent Agency. Vasculitis causes inflammation and damage to blood vessels, according to Chris Day, a spokesman at United Talen Agency. Ramos was "surrounded by family and friends" when he died in the Chicago area home where he's lived since 1996.

"His creativity, compassion, intelligence, humor and spirit will be missed by all who knew and loved him," United Talent Agency wrote.

Ramis returned to Chicago after 20 years in Los Angeles.

The comedian got his start at Second City while working as an editor at Playboy Magazine. In 1978, he co-wrote "National Lampoon's Animal House," which starred Second City alum John Belushi. That was his big break.

He also worked with Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd, and followed up with dozens of films in which he directed or co-wrote, including "Caddyshack" (1980), Stripes (1981), "National Lampoon's Vacation" (1983), Ghostbusters (1984) and Ghostbusters II (1989) and "Groundhog Day" (1993).

"The best comedy touches something that's timeless and universal in people," Ramis told The Associated Press in a 2009 story about the 50th anniversary of Second City. "When you hit it right, those things last."

He is survived by his wife, Erica; sons Julian and Daniel; daughter Violet; and two grandchildren.

Copyright © 2023 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.