On Sunday, at the age of 71, the hilariously foul-mouthed comedian passed away from heart failure (and surely Carlin would make fun of that usage of "pass away" rather than just saying "died"; you can see his bit about death, now a funny, bittersweet video, here).
Often regarded as one of the greatest stand-up comedians, he is today deemed a "counterculture hero" who pushed the envelope in regard to profanity, most famously with his "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television" routine.
The AP notes that Carlin leaves a "legal legacy: His most celebrated monologue, a frantic, informed riff on those infamous seven words, led to a Supreme Court decision on broadcasting offensive language." In a 2004 interview, Carlin explained his thoughts on language that's considered taboo:
"There's an idea that the human body is somehow evil and bad and there are parts of it that are especially evil and bad, and we should be ashamed. Fear, guilt and shame are built into the attitude toward sex and the body. . . It's reflected in these prohibitions and these taboos that we have. "
Over his life, Carlin put out "23 comedy albums, 14 HBO specials, three books, a few TV shows and appeared in several movies." He won four Grammy Awards and was nominated for five Emmys. Most of all, however, he influenced countless comedians who came after him. Judd Apatow notes, "Nobody was funnier than George Carlin. I spent half my childhood in my room listening to his records experiencing pure joy. And he was as kind as he was funny."