The cause of the 66-year-old’s death has not been revealed, although sources told US entertainment site TMZ that he suffered a “massive heart attack”.
Firefighters were called to an LA address on Thursday morning and Shandling was taken to the city’s St John’s Hospital by ambulance. He was later pronounced dead.
He was not known to be suffering from any illnesses.
Ricky Gervais was among the first to pay tribute, tweeting: “RIP the great Garry Shandling. Surely, one of the most influential comedians of a generation.”
A raft of other celebrities from Amy Schumer to Zach Braff also took to Twitter to express their grief .
“Goodbye Gary Shandling thank you for your kindness and your generosity and for making me laugh so damn much” wrote Schumer.
Braff tweeted: “Gary Shandling was a comedy hero of mine. He once sent me a thank you note that read, ‘Thanks for nothing’. RIP.”
Henry Winkler said: “Oh my ..GOD will laugh now as he never has Before REST IN PEACE .. Wayyyy too soon.”
Chicago-born Shandling was best known for Larry Sanders, in which he played an exaggerated version of himself as the host of a fictional late-night talk show.
The sitcom originally aired between 1992 and 1998 and featured guest appearances from the likes of Jennifer Aniston, Robin Williams and Billy Crystal.
Crystal tweeted: “Garry Shandling was one of the most brilliant people I have ever known. A shocking huge loss.”
The award-winning show’s fly-on-the-wall style helped inspire a host of other comedies such as Gervais’ The Office.
Shandling also co-wrote and starred alongside John Goodman and Annette Bening in the 2000 comedy sci-fi What Planet Are You From?.
He also had a role in The Jungle Book film, due to be released next month.
He never married and had no children.
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