Garry Shandling, the influential stand-up comedian and star of "The Larry Sanders Show," has died. He was 66.

TMZ was the first to report the news on Thursday afternoon, writing that Shandling was rushed to a Los Angeles area hospital earlier that day, where he later died. The cause was an apparent massive heart attack, according to the site, though Shandling's representatives have yet to confirm that report.

Shandling broke new comedy ground with his 1980s series "It's Garry Shandling's Show," which frequently broke the fourth wall and inspired the irreverent style of other, later series, including "Seinfeld" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm." He followed that up with another influential comedy, "The Larry Sanders Show," which spoofed the behind-the-scenes workings of a late-night talk show, and earned him much critical acclaim, including multiple Emmy nominations for acting, and one win for writing.

The comedian cut his teeth in television writing for classic series such as "Sanford and Son" and "Welcome Back, Kotter," though he eventually abandoned that work to focus solely on his stand-up career. Shandling's big break came with an appearance on "The Tonight Show" in 1981, and he eventually became Johnny Carson's permanent guest host for a time in the late 1980s. He went on to headline a string of successful stand-up specials for HBO and Showtime.

His recent film appearances include roles in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" and "Iron Man 2," as well as cameos in movies including "The Dictator," "Funny People," and "Zoolander."

Shandling's influence was felt throughout Hollywood, and multiple comedians and filmmakers mourned his passing on Thursday. Kathy Griffin, a longtime friend of the comedian, tweeted that she had just seen him this past Sunday, and he was "making every1 laugh. "

"I loved him," Griffin continued. "I'll miss our talks the most."

[via: TMZ, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety]

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