Comedic legend Gilbert Gottfried defended his fellow comedians until the very end ... using his last social media post to back Chris Rock after the Oscars.
Gilbert posted a photo of him with Chris the day after Will Smith's on-camera slap, with the caption "Which is the worst crime? Chris Rock being physically assaulted or Chris Rock telling a joke?"
He also joked around about the "King Richard" star to The Associated Press, saying he used to worry about putting a mask on while performing ... but "now I have to worry about wearing a football helmet," hilariously begging Will to stay away from his shows.
As we reported, Gilbert passed away Tuesday from a heart abnormality called Ventricular Tachycardia due to Myotonic Dystrophy type II. His family asked his fans to keep laughing as loud as they can in his honor.
His career spans back to the '70s when he was a cast member on "Saturday Night Live," and quickly became a standout character on multiple shows and movies, including "Beverly Hills Cop II" and "The Cosby Show."
Gilbert leaves behind his wife, Dara, who he married in 2007, and his two kids -- Lily and Max.