After the passing of Harold Ramis at the age of 69 this morning (Feb. 24), Dan Aykroyd, co-star and co-writer of “Ghostbusters” with Ramis, opens up to Closer Weekly about the death of his colleague and dear friend.

He tells the mag that he is “deeply saddened to hear of the passing of my brilliant, gifted, funny friend, co-writer/performer and teacher Harold Ramis.” He adds, “May he now get the answers he was always seeking.”

Ramis died due to complications from autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, a rare disease that involves swelling of the blood vessels.

Though he may not be the most recognizable name in Hollywood, Ramis was certainly one of the industry’s most successful comedy filmmakers during his 30+ year career.

Ramis’ wife Erica confirmed that he died at the family’s home on Chicago’s North Shore surrounded by family.

The comedian began his career as a Second City performer before finding success in Hollywood as a writer, actor and director.

His writing credits include the wildly popular comedy “Animal House” (1978) which catapulted the film career of Ramis’ friend and former Second City colleague John Belushi, “Stripes” (1981) and the famed “Ghostbusters” (1984).

He also directed comedy classics “Caddyshack” (1980), “National Lampoon’s Vacation” (1983) and “Groundhog Day” (1993) and acted in “Stripes,” “Ghostbusters” and “Groundhog Day.”

harold ramis

Ramis (L) with Aykroyd and Bill Murray in “Ghostbusters”

The Chicago native’s health struggles began in 2010 with an infection that led to complications related to his autoimmune disease. The performer had to relearn to walk, according to his wife, but suffered a relapse of the vaculitis in late 2011.

His last film and TV credits include a small role in the 2007 Judd Apatow comedy “Knocked Up” and directing four episodes of the hit sitcom “The Office.”