Parks & Rec Writer Harris Wittels Found Dead

Photo: Frazier Harrison/Getty Images.
Harris Wittels, a writer and co-executive producer for Amy Poehler's hit sitcom Parks and Recreation, was found dead in his Los Angeles home on Thursday, The New York Times reports. He was 30 years old. Fans of the show will also remember him as an occasional actor as part of the Animal Control Department. 

According to the Los Angeles Police Department, Wittels' assistant discovered him in his home around noon on Thursday. The assistant called police and "reported a possible overdose," says the Times. Police pronounced him dead at the scene, though overdose has not yet been named the official cause of death.

Hours after Wittels' passing, Poehler addressed the tragic incident during Variety's second annual unite4humanity event, at which she was an honoree. The actress was in attendance to receive the Unity Award for her work with Worldwide Orphans. 

"Today I lost a friend," she told the audience. "I lost a dear, young friend in my life who was struggling with addiction."
Photo: Courtesy of NBC.

Poehler, so affected by the sudden loss of Wittels, abandoned her comedic chops. "I'm sharing it with you because life and death live so close together, and we walk that fine line every day. When things happen in our lives, we turn to the people that we love…and we lean on people, in a hope that we will ease our pain," she told the crowd. "So, I don't really feel like telling any jokes. I'm kind of sad, and it's really great to be here tonight and listen to all of you, and listen to the great work that you do and be reminded why we live in this bizarre planet called 'Hollywood,'" she said, which Variety reports still provoked some laughter. "It's very strange."

Rob Lowe, who played Chris Traeger on the show, shared in Poehler's condolences on Twitter. "Addiction takes another. Goodbye Harris Wittels, you were so funny and so sweet. It's a pleasure to have known you," he wrote in a tweet.

Wittels will appear in the final episode of Parks and Rec, which airs next week. 


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