Comedic actor Fred Willard's cause of death was cardiac arrest, his death certificate says. The official document, obtained by TMZ, reveals that the beloved star's underlying causes of death were myelodysplastic syndrome — a blood disorder — and coronary artery disease.
The Modern Family and Best in Show star died on May 15, with his daughter Hope announcing that he died peacefully and made his family "happy until the very end." The death certificate says he died at his home at 6:45 p.m. It also notes that he was laid to rest at the famous Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles. He was 86.
Willard — famous for his roles in the Anchorman movies, American Wedding, Everybody Loves Raymond, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, How High, The Wedding Planner, WALL-E, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, and countless others — was a veteran of the United States Armed Forces and had 60 years in the entertainment business under his belt. Willard also has a posthumous, recurring role in the newly-released Steve Carell Netflix sitcom Space Force.
At the time of his death, Willard's daughter said, "He kept moving, working and making us happy until the very end. We loved him so very much! We will miss him forever." He was mourned by countless fans and co-stars as the news of his death broke last month. Filmmaker and actor Judd Apatow said that Willard "could not have been funnier," calling him a "pure joy" and "the sweetest person you could ever meet." Jimmy Kimmel dedicated an entire episode of his late-night show to Willard, who frequently appeared on the show in various sketches.
"He was more than just funny. He had a light inside him; you could see glint of it in his eyes. And it made everyone around him happy," Kimmel said during the opening monologue remembering Willard. Kimmel told a story about the time he found a pine tree in the middle of June when he found out Willard was upset his wife, Mary, got rid of theirs — which he liked to saw off bit by bit as exercise until it was gone. "In a lot of ways, Fred Willard was like a Christmas tree in June — a little weird, familiar but still surprising to see it, full of good memories and you're just instantly happy that it's there," Kimmel said.
Actress Jamie Lee Curtis, who is married to Willard's frequent collaborator director Christopher Guest, was among the first to memorialize Willard. She shared a clip of him from Best In Show, one of his films with Guest. "How lucky that we all got to enjoy Fred Willard's gifts," Curtis wrote. "He is with his missed Mary now. Thanks for the deep belly laughs Mr. Willard."