‘I knew this would happen’: Comedian Garry Shandling dies suddenly at age 66

© Mario Anzuoni
Garry Shandling, best known for breaking the rules for the current generation of comedians, died suddenly at age 66 in Los Angeles, possibly from a massive heart attack, TMZ sources are reporting.

Born in Chicago and raised in Tucson, “the comedian’s comedian” influenced some of today’s biggest comic geniuses like Jon Stewart, Louis CK, and Judd Apatow, who told GQ magazine that Shandling gave him "the biggest break of his career" when he hired him to write jokes for the 1991 Grammy Awards show.

Shandling found early success on both premium cable and the nascent Fox network. It's Garry Shandling’s Show, his first hit show on Showtime and later Fox starting in 1986, and The Larry Sanders Show on HBO, set a new standard and occasionally broke the fourth wall.

He turned down an offer to replace David Letterman on NBC in order to play his fake talk-show host character Larry Sanders.

Also known as “the Comedy Buddha”, Shandling was “a serious student of dharma”.

Jerry Seinfeld rode with Shandling in a recent episode of his chat show Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. The episode was called “It’s Great That Garry Shandling Is Still Alive.”

While most of Shandling’s humor was self-deprecating, he would occasionally drift towards politics.

Other legendary comedians honored their colleague Thursday.

Shandling would often joke about death and mortality. In 2007, on his final appearance with David Letterman, he joked that his tombstone would read, “I knew this was going to happen.”

For those sad about his passing, we close with the “theme to Garry’s show” on Showtime, which he said always “cheered him up”.

RIP Garry.