Mike MacDonald, Veteran Stand-Up Comic, Dies at 63

Mike MacDonald
Brian Ach/WireImage

Mike MacDonald performs at the Theatre St. Denis during the Just For Laughs Festival on July 20, 2007 in Montreal. 

Tributes poured in for the Canadian comedian who made the most consecutive appearances at the Just For Laughs comedy festival of any other comic.

Mike MacDonald, a veteran Canadian stand-up comedian, has died. He was 63.

John Paul MacDonald, brother of the comedy performer, told CTV News on Sunday (March 18) that Mike MacDonald died Saturday at the Ottawa Heart Institute due to heart complications. The comedy world was quick to pay tribute to MacDonald on social media as news of his death spread.

"Saddened to hear of the passing of our dear friend and Canadian comedy legend Mike MacDonald. Over the years he has graced our stages more than any other comic and will be greatly missed. #RIPMike," the Just For Laughs comedy festival in Montreal, where MacDonald was a regular performer, said on its Twitter account.

Stand-up comic Jim Gaffigan added in his own tweet, "So sad to hear about Mike MacDonald. I had the pleasure of performing with [the] Canadian comedy legend a couple times. Once at a @justforalaughs gala and recently when I performed in Ottawa (his hometown). On both occasions he was pure class and funny as hell. RIP."

Born on June 21, 1954 in Metz, France, MacDonald was the son of a career Canadian Air Force officer who brought his family to Ottawa on his retirement. In 1978, MacDonald first tried his hand at stand-up comedy at local clubs before moving to Toronto.

As his stand-up career took him around the North American club circuit, MacDonald appeared on Late Night With David Letterman, The Arsenio Hall Show, and at the Just For Laughs comedy festival, where he made the most consecutive annual appearances among any comedy talent.

He also hosted CBC TV comedy specials like Mike MacDonald; On Target ,My House! My Rules and Happy As I Can Be. In 2011, Mike MacDonald was diagnosed with hepatitis C and moved back to Ottawa from Los Angeles.

A year later, he made an urgent call for a matching liver for a transplant, which he succeeded in completing.

Fellow Canadian stand-up veteran, Jeremy Hotz, remembered MacDonald on Twitter: "I am pained to inform you that my friend and comedy mentor Mike MacDonald has passed away. Mike was a ferociously funny man. We shared so many good times. Thanks for taking me under your wing way back in the day. You were a great comic. You did your country proud."

This article originally appeared on The Hollywood Reporter.


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