Willard's daughter Hope said he passed "very peacefully … He kept moving, working and making us happy until the very end. We loved him so very much! We will miss him forever."
Willard got his start in sketch comedy on the stage, going on to appear in hundreds of films and TV shows in a career spanning more than 50 years.
Stars from around the world paid tribute to the late actor:
Fred Willard was a brilliant comic actor and improvisor. He could make anything funny. His work goes down as some of the funniest ever,— Ben Stiller (@RedHourBen) May 16, 2020
From Jerry Hubbard on...he inspired and influenced so many people in comedy.
Sending love to his family.
How lucky that we all got to enjoy Fred Willard’s gifts. He is with his missed Mary now. Thanks for the deep belly laughs Mr. Willard. Best in Show (7/11) Movie CLIP - Judging the Hounds (2000) HD https://t.co/wPrbk9VjWI via @YouTube— Jamie Lee Curtis (@jamieleecurtis) May 16, 2020
I am sad to say goodbye to Fred Willard, who was still the funniest of men at age 86. Here's what turned out to be our last moment on-air together… pic.twitter.com/inDZVtls6v— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) May 16, 2020
RIP, Fred. You were always my comic hero. I was thrilled to work with you in Roxanne. https://t.co/IjSxCMESzt— Steve Martin (@SteveMartinToGo) May 16, 2020
Fred Willard was the funniest person that I've ever worked with. He was a sweet, wonderful man.— Steve Carell (@SteveCarell) May 16, 2020
image credit - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fred_Willard_(cropped).jpg