Harris Wittels, ‘Parks and Recreation’ executive producer, dead at 30

Updated 1:47 PM EST, Fri February 20, 2015
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Story highlights

Wittels produced, wrote and occasionally appeared in episodes of the show

Police say they believe he may have died from an overdose

"He was my baby," comedian Sarah Silverman says on Twitter

(CNN) —  

Harris Wittels, a comedian and executive producer of the NBC show “Parks and Recreation,” has died of a possible overdose, police said Thursday. He was 30.

Wittels was found at his home by his assistant, and police believe he may have died from an overdose, Los Angeles Police Department Officer Nuria Venegas told CNN. The coroner’s office will be conducting an autopsy.

Wittels produced, wrote and occasionally appeared in episodes of “Parks and Recreation,” a comedy following the exploits of a parks department employee on her one-woman mission to put her small Indiana town on the map.

The show, starring Amy Poehler, is in its seventh and final season. The series finale airs next week.

Wittels would sometimes appear on “Parks and Recreation” as Harris, an inept and clueless employee with the city’s animal-control department.

He was also a comic force on Twitter, where he is widely credited with coining the popular term “humblebrag.”

Under the Twitter handle @humblebrag, he retweeted celebrity posts that exemplified the term, which means bragging under a veneer of false modesty.

In 2012, he turned the word into a book, “Humblebrag: The Art of False Modesty.”

Fellow comedians paid tribute to him on social media Thursday, including Sarah Silverman, whose show he worked on previously.

“He was my baby,” she said in one Tweet.

Billy Eichner, who appears on “Parks and Recreation,” described Wittels as “an incredibly funny person who has left us way too soon.”

Wittels, who was a frequent guest on comedy podcasts, spoke openly in his work about his drug use, cultivating a “druggy” comedic persona. In one episode of his podcast “Analyze Phish,” in which he explored his love of the band Phish, he and fellow comedians recorded themselves taking drugs as they attended one of the group’s shows at the Hollywood Bowl.

But in recent podcast appearances, he revealed that he had been trying to beat a serious drug addiction and had gone to rehab after he started using heroin. He also spoke about how his drug use had affected his work at “Parks and Recreation.”

Representatives of NBC Universal declined Thursday evening to comment on his death.

Wittels also worked on the shows “Eastbound & Down” and “Secret Girlfriend.”

People we’ve lost in 2015

CNN’s Artemis Moshtaghian reported from Los Angeles, and Jethro Mullen reported and wrote from Hong Kong. CNN’s AnneClaire Stapleton, Tim Hume, Saeed Ahmed and Henry Hanks contributed to this report.