He also left a vast legacy: Thousands of jokes. Hundreds of public figures skewered for their hypocrisy. Countless reaction shots of Stewart's face grimacing in mock (or real) outrage.
Of course, Comedy Central's flagship show will return on September 28 with Trevor Noah as host. And it may be great. But it won't be the same.
Here's a sampling, culled from the book, of Stewart's wit, wisdom, gags and grievances.
On his persona:
"I think of myself as a comedian who has the pleasure of writing jokes about things that I actually care about, and that's really it. I have great respect for people who are in the front lines and the trenches of trying to enact social change, but I am far lazier than that. I am a tiny, neurotic man, standing in the back of the room throwing tomatoes at the chalkboard."
On how he and his 'Daily Show' writers work:
"When we come to work in the morning we say, 'Did you see that thing last night?' And then we spend the next eight or nine hours trying to take that thing and turn it into something funny."
On his hermit-like lifestyle:
"I have two speeds in my life -- pedaling a hundred miles per hour uphill to try and stay up, or sitting at home on my couch with a glazed doughnut on my lap staring at a Knicks game. I need downtime to refill the reservoir. I don't have much of a life outside (of work). It is all-consuming."
On the herd mentality of the news media:
"The news now is like a children's soccer game. Whatever the main focus of the day is where they go; it's not about territory and positioning. When one kid has the ball, everyone runs over there. And then he kicks it and everyone goes over there."
"I tend to need logic in my life; I'm very poor with faith. While I do believe in God, I just don't think he's still looking out for us. I mean, if you think about it, he created the world in six days -- five billion years ago! Don't you think by now he's moved on to another project? Maybe we're just something he threw together for his third-grade science fair."
On his political leanings:
"I have a tendency to lean toward the underdog, which I assume is the liberal perspective. But as I've gotten older, I find I've developed my own ideology. I don't really fit into anything."
On life in New York after 9/11:
"The view from my apartment was the World Trade Center. Now it's gone. They attacked it. This symbol of American ingenuity and strength and labor and imagination and commerce and it is gone. But you know what the view is now? The Statue of Liberty. The view from the south of Manhattan is now the Statue of Liberty. You can't beat that."
On the content of his show:
"It's not fake news. We are not newsmen, but it's jokes about real news. We don't make anything up, other than the fact we're not really standing in Baghdad."
On taping his show every night:
"The last thing I think about is performing. It's all about the managing, editing and moving towards showtime. I can literally show up at 5 o'clock pretty drunk, and as long as the show is spelled out phonetically on the prompter, I'll do OK. I just have to face in the right direction."
On the 2006 birth of his daughter:
"I don't know that much about women. A boy child, I feel like I'll know how to deal with it if he has a problem. I'll just be able to say to him, 'Well, repress it.' and hopefully he'll swallow that, as I have. And then you figure you have 30 years before it comes out over dinner, where somebody spills the gravy and then you're like, 'I hate you!' But a girl, she's going to want me to have tea with her and her panda. What am I going to do with that?"
On hyperbole in the news media:
"The press can hold its magnifying glass up to our problems, bringing them into focus, illuminating issues heretofore unseen, or they can use that magnifying glass to light ants on fire and then perhaps host a week of shows on the sudden, unexpected flaming ant epidemic. If we amplify everything, we hear nothing. The press is our immune system. If it overreacts to everything, we actually get sicker ... and perhaps eczema."
On why he won't enter politics:
"Every generation has had its people who stand at the back and make fun of those in charge. I'm not saying I'm powerless and in a vacuum, but if I really wanted to change things, I'd run for office. I haven't considered that, and I wouldn't because (comedy) is what I do well. And the more I move away from comedy, the less competent I become."
On what he'll miss about doing 'The Daily Show':
"The actual being-on-TV part has become sort of peripheral to the experience of making it, and I'll miss the experience of making it much more than the experience of presenting it. I'll miss (the process) where we're all bereft (in the writers' room) and we're having a very tough conversation in the morning, and then finding something by 4:30 or 5 in that rewrite room that still gives us that stupid, childlike jolt of joy."
On how he wants the show to be remembered:
"It's very difficult to say we want the legacy to be, 'It was the funniest show in television history!' But you want it to be appreciated. More than anything I would hope people would be like, 'Those guys f---ing brought it every night."