Gilbert Gottfried died after a long sickness. What is myotonic dystrophy type II, the rare disease that reportedly caused his demise?


Iconic comic Gilbert Gottfried died on Tuesday after what his household mentioned was “a long illness.” His consultant mentioned Gottfried’s demise was caused by a coronary heart rhythm problem known as recurrent ventricular tachycardia, which resulted from myotonic dystrophy type II. What is this rare disease? 

There are two forms of myotonic dystrophy, a disease that impacts the muscular tissues and different physique programs, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This disease is the most typical type of muscular dystrophy that begins in maturity.

Myotonic dystrophy type II, which Gottfried reportedly had, is inherited, NIH explains. It causes muscle weak spot, ache and stiffness, and the signs normally develop throughout a individual’s 20s or 30s. 

Gilbert Gottfried on February 3, 2020 in New York City.

Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for SiriusXM

Myotonic dystrophy type II impacts the muscular tissues in addition to organs like the coronary heart, eyes and pancreas, and causes extended muscle tensing often known as myotonia. The severity of the situation varies for various individuals, and even amongst relations. 

Myotonic dystrophy is additionally identified to trigger irregular electrical management of the heartbeat.

Ventricular tachycardia is a situation the place the coronary heart beats sooner — normally 100 or extra beats per minute, whereas the common is 60 or 100 beats per minute. It is caused by irregular electrical alerts in the decrease chambers of the coronary heart, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Ventricular tachycardia might be caused by many issues, together with having had a prior coronary heart assault, congenital coronary heart ailments, and even treatment reactions. 

Over his long career, Gottfried was identified for his brash comedian persona and distinctive voice, which he famously used to painting the parrot Iago in Disney’s “Aladdin.”

“In addition to being the most iconic voice in comedy, Gilbert was a wonderful husband, brother, friend and father to his two young children. Although today is a sad day for all of us, please keep laughing as loud as possible in Gilbert’s honor,” his household mentioned in a assertion posted on Twitter.

Caitlin O’Kane

Caitlin O’Kane is a digital content material producer masking trending tales for CBS News and its excellent news model, The Uplift.