Funnymen Ben Stiller and Jay Leno have paid tribute to late comedy great George Carlin, who suffered a fatal heart attack on Sunday (22Jun08) at the age of 71.
Carlin, who notched up 130 appearances on The Tonight Show - the late-night programme Leno now hosts, has been dubbed "voice of his generation" by the comic.
Leno adds, "Before George, comedians aspired to put on nice suits and perform in Las Vegas. George rebelled against that life.
"His comedy took on privilege and elitism, even railing against the game of golf.
"He never lost that fire. May he continue to inspire young people never to accept the status quo."
And Stiller, a huge fan of the late comedy legend, adds, "George Carlin was a hugely influential force in stand-up comedy. He had an amazing mind, and his humour was brave, and always challenging us to look at ourselves and question our belief systems, while being incredibly entertaining. He was one of the greats and he will be missed."
Family members have also spoken of their loss. Carlin's 45-year-old daughter Kelly says, "Most people know George Carlin as an icon of comedy and an advocate of free speech. I just know him as dad... and what a dad he was.
"He taught me the value of speaking the truth in a world that doesn't always want to hear it and gave me the gift of laughter.
"He was loved and revered by so many and will be missed beyond words - but never forgotten."
Meanwhile, comedienne Ellen DeGeneres offers, "In a profession where some look for the easy laugh and cheap shot, George not only made us laugh, but his humour made us think."
And moviemaker Judd Apatow revealed he spent "half my childhood in my room listening to his records experiencing pure joy."
Carlin, who was recently announced as the recipient of this year's (08) Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, died at St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California.