A promotional shot from classic 80s film Ghostbusters.
A promotional shot from classic 80s film Ghostbusters. supplied

Ghostbusters star Harold Ramis dies aged 69

GHOSTBUSTERS actor and co-writer Harold Ramis has died aged 69, his lawyer has said.

Ramis died early on Monday morning in Chicago from complications of autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, the Chicago Tribune reports. According to reports, the serious health issues started in May 2010, and later in 2011 he had to learn to walk again.

The actor, born in 1944 in Chicago, is best known for his roles as Egon Spengler in Ghostbusters and Russell Ziskey in Stripes.

His career started at The Second City, a comedy club/theatre and school of improvisation in Chicago, which also counts Bill Murray among its list of alumni.

The Second City's chief executive and executive producer said about Ramis' passing: "It is impossible to overstate the personal and professional influence that Harold Ramis has had on all of us at The Second City.

"He was a natural leader, a trusted friend and so generous with his own talent that he made everyone he ever worked with look like a genius.

"We are devastated to lose him so young but we were all enriched by the years we did get to partake of his particular brilliance."

In 1978, he co-wrote National Lampoon's Animal House, which was directed by John Landis and starred John Belushi. The screenplay was adapted from stories written by Chris Miller.

Ramis co-wrote Ghostbusters, in which he appeared alongside Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray. The film originally came out in 1984 and was the biggest success of his career. A second installment came out in 1989, and rumours of a third opus had floated around ever since.

Ramis directed Groundhog Day, which came out in 1993 and also starred Bill Murray. The film was added to the National Film Registry "to be preserved for all time" in 2006.

In 1996, Ramis moved from Los Angeles back to Chicago, where he was born and had been brought up. In 1999 he released the movie Analyze This. It was followed by a sequel in 2002.

In 2007, he made a small appearance in the comedy Knocked Up in which he plays Seth Rogen's father.

In 2009, in addition to the Ghostbusters video game, for which he provided his likeness and voice, Ramis's last film Year One came out. The film, starring Jack Black and Michael Cera, was written and directed by Ramis, who also held a small role in the movie.

Harold Ramis leaves behind him three children, Violet who was born in 1977 with his first wife, and two sons from his second marriage to Erica Mann.

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