Actor Martin Short, Harold Ramis and guest attending 'Comic Relief Benefit' on March 29, 1986 at the Universal Amphitheater in Universal City, California. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
1981: From left to right, actors Sean Young, Harold Ramis, Bill Murray and P.J. Soles, stars of the film 'Stripes'. Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
1987: From left to right, actors Harold Ramis, Warren Oates and Bill Murray star in the film 'Stripes'. Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Director Harold Ramis attends 42nd Annual Golden Globe Awards on January 26, 1985 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Director Harold Ramis and actor Eugene Levy attend Comic Relief Benefit on March 29, 1986 at the Universal Ampitheater in Universal City, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Director Harold Ramis and actor Martin Shot attend Comic Relief Benefit on March 29, 1986 at the Universal Ampitheater in Universal City, California. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
CHICAGO - FEBRUARY 25: Harold Ramis at the 'Meet the Oscars' exhibit at The Shops at North Bridge on February 25, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Barry Brecheisen/Getty Images)
CHICAGO - FEBRUARY 25: Harold Ramis attends the 'Meet the Oscars' exhibit at The Shops at North Bridge on February 25, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Barry Brecheisen/Getty Images)
Director Harold Ramis attends the world premiere of 'Analyze That' on December 2002 at the Ziegfeld Theater in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
CHICAGO - DECEMBER 12: Harold Ramis walks the red carpet at The Second City Celebrates 50 Years of Funny at 1616 N. Wells Avenue on December 12, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for The Second City)
SANTA MONICA, CA - SEPTEMBER 21: Jeff Garlin and Harold Ramis attend the Chicago/LA Link Reunion Event at La Grande Orange on September 21, 2009 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Jesse Grant/WireImage)
LAS VEGAS, NV - FEBRUARY 18: Writer/Director Harold Ramis and actor Steve Carell (R) arrive at the 2007 NBA All-Star Game on February 18, 2007 at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. NOTE TO USER:User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2007 NBAE (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images).
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CHICAGO (AP) -- Comedy actor, director and writer Harold Ramis, best known for his roles in movies such as "Ghostbusters" and "Stripes," died Monday at his suburban Chicago home after a four-year battle with an autoimmune disease, his talent agency said.
Ramis, 69, died early Monday morning of complications from vasculitis, which causes inflammation and damage to blood vessels, said Chris Day, a spokesman at United Talent Agency. Ramis was surrounded by family and friends.
Ramis was a key factor in some of the biggest blockbuster comedies in the 1970s and 1980s.
He co-wrote "Animal House," which starred fellow Second City alum John Belushi. He teamed up with Second City alums Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd on "Ghostbusters," in which Ramis co-starred and helped write. He also co-wrote "Meatballs" and "Caddy Shack," both of which starred Murray.
"The best comedy touches something that's timeless and universal in people," Ramis told The Associated Press in a 2009 story about the 50th anniversary of Second City. "When you hit it right, those things last."
More recently, he directed "Analyze This," starring Billy Crystal and Robert DeNiro.
Aykroyd issued a statement Monday, saying he was "deeply saddened to hear of the passing of my brilliant, gifted, funny friend ... May he now get the answers he was always seeking."
Ramis was born Nov. 21, 1944 in Chicago. He is survived by his wife, Erica Ramos; sons Julian and Daniel; daughter, Violet, and two grandchildren.