Harris Wittels, Parks and Recreation executive producer, found dead aged 30

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Harris Wittels, an executive producer on the comedy television series Parks and Recreation, has been found dead. The 30-year-old was found unresponsive at his home in Los Angeles by his assistant on Thursday. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Police have announced they are investigating the possibility of a drug overdose.

Wittels had a history of drug abuse and spoke openly about his addiction and treatment in drug rehabilitation centers. As well as working as a producer he was also a writer, musician, and stand-up comedian. He performed a stand-up set in Hollywood the night before his death.

Wittels, from Texas, started work on Parks and Recreation as a writer before being promoted to producer and eventually executive producer. Parks and Recreation is in its seventh and final season. The last episode is due to be broadcast on NBC next week.

His other working credits include work on The Sarah Silverman Show and Eastbound and Down. He authored a book, Humblebrag: The Art of False Modesty, which came from a phrase he coined on Twitter. #humblebrag was used as a term to describe the art of false modesty.

Tributes have come from across the world of television and comedy. Sarah Silverman called Wittels her "baby". She said on Twitter "You should know that Harris was brilliant beyond compare. That his imagination was without limit. That he loved comedy more than anything".

Parks and Recreation actress Amy Poehler said at a Variety event where she was being honored "I don't really feel like telling any jokes. Today, I lost a friend. I lost a dear, young friend in my life who was struggling with addiction."

Fans of Wittels also paid tribute to him. Posting on culture website The AV Club, one fan wrote "I don't mean to belittle what those who knew him are going through at all, I know how I feel is nothing compared to what they're dealing with, but it does feel like I lost a friend." Another posted "Been sitting here crying since I found out an hour ago. Just unbelievably awful. Said this elsewhere but I genuinely feel like I lost a friend, don't care how lame that sounds. RIP Harris."

An official cause of death will not be known until results are released by the Los Angeles County coroner’s office.

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