We at Fox News have learned that writer/actor Peter Aykroyd passed away on Friday at 66 from complications following heart surgery.
According to the agent, there are no further details at this time.
Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) said in a statement that Aykroyd was the first person to tell him when he was elected to Congress in 1994 that he was gay.
“He was a wonderful man and a great American whose legacy will endure,” he said.
“We were friends for forty years and he was one of the first people I told when I got elected to Congress. He was so supportive of my public life. I will miss him terribly,” Murphy said.
There was a moment of sadness on the set of Saturday Night Live on Nov. 17, when host Kerry Washington broke down while singing “Make It Rain,” from the musical show Hamilton. It is a musical tribute that Aykroyd made famous during his time on the show as a host and musical guest.
“If there’s a question about who I will miss more, my dear friend, former cast mate and SNL creator, creator and producer, Peter Gabriel, or Peter Aykroyd, it’s Peter Aykroyd. He was one of the most generous and humble men you could ever meet. He died today at a young age and is survived by his wife, six children and his latest beau, Olivia Newton-John,” Chris Pine said in a statement.
“We are saddened to hear about the death of Peter Aykroyd, of course our first gay lead in Broadway stage, ‘The Rocky Horror Show,’ and now leave the depths of hell alone,” Matt Bomer posted on Instagram.
A native of London, Aykroyd was born July 27, 1946. He made a name for himself as the host of the NBC show Saturday Night Live. The first gay cast member, he was joined by former cast mate John Belushi and former cast member Chevy Chase, who were both homosexual. Aykroyd was a writer, producer and head writer on the show, and appeared in sketches such as the famous gag with Mike Myers (“When Fish Move Like This”) and with Gilda Radner. In 1989, Aykroyd broke the record for hosting the most times on the show, for ten different guests over eleven shows. In 1991, he appeared in William Friedkin’s Network as Harold, as well as on the self-empowerment comedy series, The Wayne’s World Show, playing a guest from an old-fashioned radio show, who died during a show. Aykroyd received the Critics’ Choice Award in 1994 for his role as Mayor of New York in The Blues Brothers. He received another Critics’ Choice Award, this time for his role in Adam Sandler’s film World’s Greatest Dad, for his role as Jack McBride.
In 2003, Aykroyd became an ordained minister and he led services for the Gay Men’s Health Crisis in New York City. He also lectured and wrote for the same organization in 2008. And in 2006, he was awarded the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation’s “Philip Kaufman Courage Award.”
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) released a statement on the passing of Aykroyd.
“It was always a joy to see Peter, one of the original “Saturday Night Live” alums, on stage. Most recently he was a celebrated and celebrated actor and writer and producer. I worked with him on several projects over the years, including both directing and starring in the 2005 film, “Turnabout” with Goldie Hawn,” she said. “I was not only inspired by his wit and sense of humor but also by his commitment to the LGBTQ community through his involvement with numerous activist groups and his consistent support of initiatives that protect the rights of LGBTQ Americans.”
Watch full episodes of Peter Aykroyd talking to Tucker Carlson below:
In 2000, Aykroyd received an award from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force named after Andrew Breitbart.
“The highest possible honor for a gay person in this country is a plaque by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force,” Aykroyd said in accepting the award.
“I was in tears,” he told Tucker Carlson. “Andy, and I, have been friends for 32 years and we are all going to miss him dearly.”
While filming the new movie, Three, Aykroyd recorded a new version of “New York, New York,” the campy Madonna song made famous by John Travolta in