Actor and director Harold Ramis arrives for the premiere of 'Year One' in New York on June 15, 2009. Photo: Stephen Chernin

Washington - President Barack Obama says the late actor and director Harold Ramis, a native of his hometown of Chicago, was one of America's “greatest satirists.”

In a statement, the president recalled watching Ramis' iconic movies, including ‘Animal House’ and ‘Ghostbusters’. He says the movies didn't just make him “laugh until it hurt” but also made him question authority and root for the underdog.

Ramis died in the early hours of Monday morning at the age of 69 after suffering autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis for a number of years.

In a nod to a frequently referenced line from Ramis' classic film ‘Caddyshack’, Obama said his thoughts and prayers go out to those who hope Ramis “received total consciousness.”

Meanwhile, Bill Murray has paid tribute to his former co-star.

The 'Monuments Men' actor has recalled the numerous projects he worked on with the late actor, and says he "earned his keep".

He said in a statement to TIME: "Harold Ramis and I together did the 'National Lampoon Show' off Broadway, 'Meatballs', 'Stripes', 'Caddyshack', 'Ghostbusters' and 'Groundhog Day'.

"He earned his keep on this planet. God bless him."

In 2009, Harold admitted he and Bill, 63, hadn't spoken since working on 'Groundhog Day' in 1993, but was hopeful they could enjoy a "great reunion" one day in the future.

He said: "I've had many dreams about him, that we're friends again. There was a great reunion feeling in those dreams. Bill was a strong man.

"I could help him be the best Bill Murray he could be, and I think he appreciated that then. And I don't know where that went, but it's there on film."

Harold is survived by his wife, Erica Mann Ramis, their two sons, Julian and Daniel as well as his daughter, Violet Ramis, with former spouse Anne Plotkin. - Sapa-AP