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Comedian Gilbert Gottfried has died: What is myotonic dystrophy type II?
Comedian Gilbert Gottfried, known for his distinctive voice, has died at age 67, his family announced Tuesday (April 12) on social media.
Gottfried’s family did not specify the cause of his death, noting only that he died “after a long illness.” However, in a separate statement, Gottfried’s friend and publicist Glenn Schwartz said he experienced recurrent ventricular tachycardia, a type of abnormal heart rhythm, due to a genetic condition called myotonic dystrophy type II, according to Rolling Stone.
Myotonic dystrophy type II is a form of muscular dystrophy, a group of progressive diseases that cause muscles to grow weaker and lose mass over time, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD). Symptoms of the inherited condition typically arise in early adulthood, between the 20s and 30s, and the disease is characterized by myotonia, or prolonged muscle contractions, which make it difficult to relax a muscle after you tense it.
The disease is caused by mutations in a gene called CNBP, according to GARD. CNBP contains instructions to build a protein that binds to DNA and RNA, DNA’s molecular cousin; in binding to these genetic molecules, CNBP helps regulate which proteins the cells build and when, according to the protein sequence database, Uniprot.