Openly gay humorist and actor David Rakoff died Thursday in Manhattan. He was 47.

According to The New York Times, Rakoff, a frequent contributor to public radio's This American Life, lost a prolonged battle with cancer.

His illness, first diagnosed at the age of 22, was a theme he often explored in his essays. It recently reappeared as a tumor in his left shoulder, possibly requiring that his arm and shoulder be amputated. He wrote about the experience in his 2010 collection of essays titled Half Empty, for which he received the Thurber Prize for American Humor.

Rakoff also contributed to The New York Times, GQ, Details, Salon and Slate.

The diagnosis of Hodgkin's lymphoma was first made as Rakoff worked as a translator in Japan. He returned to his native Canada for treatment and the cancer remained at bay for two decades, according to the Times.

He is survived by his parents, his stand-up comic brother Simon Rakoff and writer sister Ruth Rakoff.