TORONTO -- Norm Macdonald, whose dry, caustic wit propelled him from Canadian comedy clubs to "Saturday Night Live" fame, lived by a "purist" comedic philosophy that won him the admiration of his famous contemporaries, even if it polarized audiences, says his brother.

Neil Macdonald said the sardonic standup lived by the maxim that comedy should always surprise and never pander, preferring that a joke be met with boos than to stoop for the cheap laugh. Macdonald was devoted to the craft of comedy, he said, and never aspired to make the transition from the stage to the big screen.
"If you speak to his friends like Adam Sandler, David Spade or Tim Meadows -- the people he came up with at 'SNL' -- they would all agree that Norm was the purest amongst them," Neil said by phone from Los Angeles. "He was the comic's comic."

Macdonald died in Los Angeles from leukemia Tuesday, Neil said. While his diagnosis was never made public, Macdonald had been dealing with cancer for "a long time," and his condition took a turn for the worst last month, he said.
The Quebec City-raised standup was best known for his tenure on "Saturday Night Live" from 1993 to 1998 where he manned the "Weekend Update" desk and became known for impressions including a mischievous Burt Reynolds as a contestant on "Jeopardy!"