Harris Wittels, a comedian, writer, and executive producer of the television show Parks and Recreation, has died at the age of 30.
Gossip site TMZ was the first to break the news, citing a possible drug overdose as Wittels’ cause of death.
Wittels was found in his home on Thursday afternoon and was pronounced dead at approximately 1 p.m. Harris was found on his couch and there were no signs of trauma to his body. However, police did discover drug paraphernalia in the home, and Harris was known to have battled drug addictions. He had visited a rehab facility on two separate occasions, according to the Washington Post.
“I just really stopped caring about my life,” Wittels said, while speaking on the podcast You Made It Weird last fall. “I just really started to think, well, if I’m only here for 80 years, then who cares if I spend it high or not?”
Ironically, Wittels had performed stand-up at The Meltdown, a comedy club in Los Angeles, on Wednesday night, where he spoke about being sober and in a good place in his life.
After hearing of Harris’ death, his friends and co-workers took the time to pay tribute to him.
Amy Poehler, star of Parks and Recreation, spoke about Wittels at a charity event sponsored by Variety, where she was receiving the Unity Award for her work with Worldwide Orphans and other underprivileged kids around the world.
“Today, I lost a friend. I lost a dear, young friend in my life who was struggling with addiction.
“I’m sharing it with you because life and death live so close together, and we walk that fine line everyday. When things happen in our lives, we turn to the people that we love… and we lean on people, in a hope that we will ease our pain.
“So, I don’t really feel like telling any jokes. I’m kind of sad, and it’s really great to be here tonight and listen to all of you, and listen to the great work that you do and be reminded why we live in this bizarre planet called ‘Hollywood.’ It’s very strange.”
Wittels started his career as a stand-up comedian but made it big when he was sought out by Sarah Silverman to write for The Sarah Silverman Program in 2007.
“He was my baby,” Silverman tweeted. “I just keep thinking of Superman flying backwards around the earth. I wish I could do that. I’m so mad at you Harris. You should know that Harris was brilliant beyond compare. That his imagination was without limit. That he loved comedy more than anything.”
“His heart was big and he FELT hard,” she added. “That he was someone who would reach out to tell you he was thinking of you for no particular reason.”
He was my baby. I just keep thinking of superman flying backwards around the earth. I wish I could do that. I’m so mad at you Harris
— Sarah Silverman (@SarahKSilverman) February 20, 2015
Billy Eichner, who also appears on Parks and Recreation, tweeted on Harris’ behalf.
“Don’t know what to say,” he wrote. “Harris Wittels was a fantastic writer I had the pleasure to work with at Parks and Rec. So so sad. RIP Harris.”
Don’t know what to say. Harris Wittels was a fantastic writer I had the pleasure to work with at Parks and Rec. So so sad. RIP Harris.
— billy eichner (@billyeichner) February 20, 2015
[Image via Twitter/Harris Wittels]