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Harold Ramis dies aged 69

Harold Ramis has died aged 69.

The writer/director/actor, most famous for playing Dr Egon Spengler in 1984's Ghostbusters , passed away in the early hours of this morning.

He was suffering from a rare disease called autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, which involves the swelling of the blood vessels.

As well as making his mark as loveable nerd Spengler, Ramis also directed time-loop comedy Groundhog Day , Analyse This and four episodes of the US version of The Office .

He started out in show business working as joke editor for Playboy magazine.

It was in 1974 that he joined The National Lampoon Radio Hour , honing his natural comedic talent by writing and performing sketches alongside the likes of John Belushi and Bill Murray.

That led to a collaboration with Ivan Reitman on National Lampoon's Animal House , which was the beginning of a professional relationship that saw Ramis also working with Reitman and Murray on Meatballs , Stripes and Ghostbusters .

No matter what the project, Ramis was much-loved for his unshakeable sense of humour.

Ramis died with his family around him in North Shore.

Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.