Aziz Ansari is used to making people laugh. Maybe less used to making them cry.
The Parks and Recreation star posted an emotional tribute to the show’s executive producer, Harris Wittels, to his Tumblr page Friday, and it’s funny, poignant and heartbreaking.
“There are so few people that you meet in life that give you that feeling that you’ve found a real unique, original person,” Ansari wrote. “Harris Wittels was one of those and we lost him yesterday… I’m still waiting for the other phone call to let me know that Harris is okay and this was all a horrible misunderstanding. I don’t know when my brain is going to be able to process the terrible feeling that fills my heart with dread and my eyes with tears every 20 seconds when I realize this very special person is really gone. So, I wanted to write something to share my stories about Harris and what he meant to me.”
The star goes on to tell hilarious, heartbreaking stories about his relationship with Wittels. The post is long but more than worth a read.
Wittels was found Thursday afternoon at his home. Police said they suspected he died of a drug overdose, but the results of a toxicology test won’t be known for at least six weeks, the Huffington Post reports.
Wittels, 30, was known for his stand-up comedy and writing and producing for The Sarah Silverman Show and Eastbound and Down in addition to his Parks and Rec work. He had spoken openly in the past about his struggles with drug addiction. During as appearance on the podcast “You Made It Weird” last year, he admitted he started using drugs when he was 12 years old.
“The thing that happens with opiates is you get sick,” he said at the time. “You f***ing go into withdrawals. So now it’s like I have to do drugs, or I’m not well.”
Members of the comedy community expressed their grief over Wittels’ tragic death on Thursday. Rob Lowe, who appeared on several seasons of Parks and Rec, also tweeted his condolences, and star of the hit show Amy Poehler remembered Wittels in a speech she gave at the unite4:humanity gala Thursday night.
Goddammit. Addiction takes another. Goodbye Harris Wittels, you were so funny and so sweet. It's a pleasure to have known you. #ParksandRec
— Rob Lowe (@RobLowe) February 20, 2015
“Today, I lost a friend,” Poehler said in her remarks. “I lost a dear young man in my life who was struggling with addiction and who died. Just a few hours before we came. I’m sharing it with you because life and death live so close together and we walk that fine line every day. At the end of the day, when things happen in our lives, we turn to the people that we love and we look to our family and our community for support and we lean on people in a hope that they will ease our pain.”
The final episode of Parks and Rec airs next week.