The world of comedy is mourning the loss of a Canadian comedy icon, Mike MacDonald. 

MacDonald died this weekend at the age of 63.

Raised in Ottawa, MacDonald got his start in stand-up at age 24. From there he went on to captivate crowds for decades with appearances at major festivals and shows across North America. 

John Helmkay runs the Crackup Comedy Festival and says MacDonald never forgot his roots.

"Mike was a standup comic standup. so he really helped other comics especially in Ottawa develop their craft," he said. 

The Crackup Comedy Festival gave MacDonald a lifetime achievement award back in 2013, one month before he received a liver transplant. MacDonald was diagnosed with Hep C in 2011.

Now, it is fundraising for a Mike MacDonald Comedy Development Fund to help up and coming stand-up comedians in Ottawa. 

"Mike did so much and worked so hard to develop and build a a comedy scene for people here in the city," he said.

What inspired many was MacDonald's honest sketches about his battle with bipolar disease, and addictions.

"He was so able to merge the dark with some of the funny. And also make it personal," he said. " When Mike got open with that it got people talking and got a discussion happening." 

Brendan Martens calls MacDonald his "comedy dad." The two just wrapped up 15 months of filming for a documentary about his life.

"...His comedy won't go away anytime soon and that's kind of nice," he said. "I hate that word icon, but he is definitely an icon. What other Canadian comedians stuck out like that and for as long as he did?"

Martens said he was surprised to see how open and vulnerable MacDonald got during filming, showing the crew his "true self".

"He really let us in," Martens said. "He had this thoroughness and this ability to write and I think as a writer he was very powerful."

MacDonald died Saturday. His family wanted to thank the staff at the Ottawa Heart Institute for their help. He died of complications related to his liver transplant and Hepatitis C diagnosis.