Did Norm Macdonald Die of Cancer? His Death Explained

Norm MacDonald died of cancer on the 14th of September 2021. He was 61 years old at the time of his death.

The iconic Canadian comedian, actor, and TV host had bravely fought cancer for several years and was even in remission at some point. He ultimately succumbed to an infection that he caught during a hospital visit for chemotherapy. MacDonald’s death led to an outpouring of tributes from his fellow celebrities as well as the Canadian Prime Minster Justin Trudeau.

When Did Norm MacDonald Die?

Norm MacDonald died on the 14th of September 2021 at The City of Hope Medical Center, a top cancer treatment and research center located in Duarte, California, United States. His long-time production partner, Lori Jo Hoekstra, announced his demise and stated that he would be terribly missed.

Norm MacDonald’s death made headlines, and many fans of the Canadian comic, who rose to fame hosting the news parody show – Weekend Update on SNL in the 90s, took to various social media platforms to pay him tributes. MacDonald’s peers and other notable personalities were not left out.

The Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, sent his condolences to MacDonald’s loved ones and his numerous fans. He described him as a comedic genius and a great Canadian and stated that the world was a much funnier place because Norm MacDonald was in it. Legendary comedian and actor Jim Carrey also described Norm MacDonald as “one of our most precious gems” and “an honest and courageous comedy genius.”

Fellow Canadian comic Seth Rogen revealed that he basically copied MacDonald’s delivery when he started out and described him as a comedy giant and one of the all-time greats.

Another comic who lavished praise on Norm MacDonald is Seth MacFarlane, the creator of Family Guy. MacFarlane had worked together with Norm on the animated space odyssey, The Orville, which was released in 2022 and stated that he would miss him. He described Norm as “hilarious and so generous with his personality.”

Norm MacDonald was famously fired from Saturday Night Live in 1998, but the show still celebrated him, saying that he was one of the most impactful comedic voices of his or any other generation.

What Was Norm MacDonald’s Age at The Time of His Death?

Norm MacDonald was 61 years old at the time of his death on 14 September 2021. He was born on the 17th of October 1959 in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. He was, therefore, just a few weeks shy of his 62nd birthday at the time of his demise.

Norma MacDonald is survived by his mother, Ferne Mains MacDonald, his two brothers, Neil and Leslie MacDonald, as well as a son named Dylan. Another notable person in his life was his long-term production partner Lori Jo Hoekstra with whom he had a great working relationship right from his time on the SNL. They had a friendship that ran deeper than most marriages.

How Did Norm Macdonald Die?

Norm MacDonald died of complications arising from blood cancer in September 2021. Norm MacDonald was first diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a rare type of blood cancer that affects the plasma in 2013. He was quite shaken up by the diagnosis, but he remained calm. He worked with his doctors to develop a treatment plan that included a stem cell transplant as well as chemotherapy. The comic underwent a stem cell transplant at a facility in Arizona. He then embarked on chemotherapy.

The chemotherapy caused him constant pain in the leg, known as neuropathy. He also gained weight as a result of Dexamethasone, a powerful steroid he had to take. Fortunately for MacDonald, the cancer went into remission after his treatments. It remained in remission for seven years but returned with a vengeance in 2020. As the whole world was battling the COVID-19 pandemic, medics informed Norm MacDonald that his multiple myeloma had metastasized into Myelodysplastic Syndrome, a type of rare blood cancer in which the body doesn’t make enough healthy blood cells.

The comic was devastated by the diagnosis but decided to forge on with his life’s work, filming his Netflix special. By July 2020, he underwent a stem cell transplant with his elder brother, Neil, donating blood. The procedure went well, and MacDonald recovered his strength. However, by early 2021, the doctors told him that another transplant was needed. Neil donated blood again, and MacDonald underwent the procedure at the City of Hope Center.

This 3rd stem cell transplant went off without a hitch, and Norm MacDonald started planning his normal shows and activities. Many of them never materialized, though. In July 2021, Norm MacDonald went in for his regular chemotherapy appointment. It was supposed to be an outpatient process, but the doctors told him to sleep over. Norm MacDonald ended up catching an infection that kept him at the hospital for the next six weeks. He never recovered from it.

The Cause of Norm MacDonald’s Death

Norm MacDonald died from complications arising from blood cancer. It must be stressed though, that no autopsy results have been shared in the public domain, which would indicate the comedian’s exact cause of death. What is known is the general sequence of events that led to his demise.

As pointed out, Norm MacDonald was already battling blood cancer when he went in for a chemotherapy treatment. He caught an infection at the hospital, and this complicated the issues he already had, which caused his demise.

What Kind of Cancer Did Norm MacDonald Have?

Norm MacDonald had cancer of the blood. The comic was first diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a rare type of blood cancer that affects the plasma, in 2013. The disease later progressed to Myelodysplastic Syndrome, a type of rare blood cancer in which the body doesn’t make enough healthy blood cells, in 2020.

Norm kept his diagnosis hidden from members of the public and only revealed it to his loved ones, i.e., his family members and his long-term production partner, Lori Jo Hoekstra. The comic never wanted the diagnosis to affect how audiences or even his loved ones saw him. He wanted to carry on with his life and work as normally as possible. Even when he gained weight from some of the steroids he had to take back in 2013, he joked that he had been eating too much chicken.

It has been pointed out that Norm MacDonald could have profited from the publicity and sympathy that would come from revealing his health issue, but he never did that.

Norm MacDonald’s Net Worth at the Time of His Death

Norm MacDonald’s net worth at the time of his death is put at $2.5 million. He made his money from a decorated career in Hollywood, which saw him host his own comedy shows, feature in movies, etc.

MacDonald famously had a gambling addiction, and it is believed that this may have affected his wealth. However, it is possible that his estate will be worth more than his present fortune and will continue to grow. For instance, his last Netflix special, Nothing Special, came out after his demise and was hugely successful.

Norm MacDonald’s Last Photo

One of Norm MacDonald’s last photos, at least one that is in the public domain, is the photos he took with his brother, Neil, and his production partner, Lori Jo Hoekstra, in California in January 2021 when he was preparing to undergo his 3rd stem cell transplant.

Norm MacDonald
Norm MacDonald with his elder brother Neil in January 2021 Image Source

In his last photos, Norm MacDonald visibly looked like he had lost weight, but he still made for a healthy figure with his impressive height as well as his dignified gray-haired looks.


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