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Autoimmune vasculitis kills comic legend Harold Ramis at 69

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Harold Ramis died today February 24, 2014 at the age of 69.

Mr. Ramis was a director and writer, specializing in comedy. His best-known film acting roles are as Egon Spengler in the 1984 movie Ghostbusters and as Russell Ziskey in the 1981 movie, Stripes. He co-wrote both.

As a writer/director, his films include the comedies Caddyshack (1980), Groundhog Day (1993), and Analyze This (1999). He was one of three screenwriters for National Lampoon's Animal House (1978).

In May 2010, Ramis contracted an infection, which complicated his autoimmune disease inflammatory vasculitis. He lost his ability to walk and then regained it but suffered a relapse of vasculitis the following year. Vasculitis is a group of disorders that destroy blood vessels by inflammation. Both arteries and veins are affected.

Vasculitis is considered a rare disease. There are many conditions that have vasculitis as an accompanying or atypical symptom, including:

  • Cancer, such as lymphomas
  • Infections, such as hepatitis C
  • Exposure to chemicals and drugs, such as amphetamines, cocaine, and anthrax vaccines which contain the Anthrax Protective Antigen as the primary ingredient.

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