Tom Smothers, the esteemed half of the iconic comedy duo, the Smothers Brothers, has left the stage at the age of 86, leaving a lasting legacy in the world of entertainment. With a career spanning over six decades, Tom Smothers brought laughter and a unique brand of political satire to millions of households across America.

The curtain fell on Tom’s remarkable journey on Tuesday, as he peacefully bid farewell at his Santa Rosa, California home, surrounded by his loved ones. His passing comes as a result of a valiant battle with cancer, according to a statement from the National Comedy Center.

His younger brother and long-time professional partner, Dick Smothers, shared heartfelt words about the bond they shared, both on and off the stage. “Tom was not only the loving older brother that everyone would want in their life, he was a one-of-a-kind creative partner,” said Dick, who is 84 years old. “I am forever grateful to have spent a lifetime together with him, on and off stage, for over 60 years. Our relationship was like a good marriage — the longer we were together, the more we loved and respected one another. We were truly blessed.”

The Smothers Brothers, known for their musical talents and razor-sharp wit, soared to fame as they blazed a trail in political satirical comedy on their groundbreaking CBS variety show, “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,” which graced television screens from 1967 to 1969. Tom strummed the guitar, while Dick plucked the stand-up bass, creating a harmonious blend of humor and music that captured the hearts of viewers.

Their influence on the comedy landscape is immeasurable, with many acknowledging them as the pioneers who laid the foundation for beloved shows like “Saturday Night Live” and “The Daily Show.”

Journey Gunderson, the Executive Director of the National Comedy Center, praised Tom’s enduring impact, remarking, “Tom was not only an extraordinary comedic talent, who, together with his brother Dick, became the most enduring comedy duo in history, entertaining the world for over six decades — but was a true champion for freedom of speech, harnessing the power of comedy to push boundaries and our political consciousness.”

Gunderson went on to highlight Tom’s role in shaping television and culture. “Tom was a true pioneer who changed the face of television and transformed our culture with ‘The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,’ which satirized politics, combated racism, protested the Vietnam War, and led the way for ‘Saturday Night Live,’ ‘The Daily Show,’ today’s network late-night shows, and so much more.”

In 2019, the National Comedy Center brought Tom and Dick out of retirement for a memorable reunion on stage to celebrate their legendary careers. The center now stands as a proud guardian of Tom’s remarkable work and legacy, ensuring it endures for generations to come.

While Tom’s earthly presence may have concluded, his memory will live on. A private memorial service for family and close friends is scheduled for 2024. In lieu of flowers, Dick and his wife, Marie, have requested that memorial donations be made to the National Comedy Center.

Tom Smothers leaves behind a legacy cherished by his children, Bo and Riley Rose Smothers, grandson Phoenix, Marcy Carriker Smothers, sister-in-law Marie Smothers, and several nephews and a niece. He is preceded in death by his son Tom and sister Sherry Smothers.

The world of entertainment has lost a true luminary, but Tom Smothers’ laughter and wisdom will continue to echo through the annals of comedy history.