03/15/2011 AT 02:35 PM EDT
A day after Gilbert Gottfried was fired
as the Aflac duck for making light of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the comedian is saying sorry.
"I sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended by my attempt at humor regarding the tragedy in Japan," Gottfried, 56, the voice of the duck since 2000, says in a statement. "I meant no disrespect, and my thoughts are with the victims and their families."
After Gottfried sent a series of joke-filled Tweets, Aflac's Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Michael Zuna issued a statement Monday saying, "Gilbert's recent comments about the crisis in Japan were lacking in humor and certainly do not represent the thoughts and feelings of anyone at Aflac."
A search is reportedly on for a new voice actor.