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Caroll Spinney, Beloved Man Behind Big Bird And Oscar The Grouch, Has Died At 85

It's a sad, sad day on Sesame Street, because the man behind some of the show's most iconic characters, has passed away, the New York Times reported.

You may not instantly recognize his name, but Caroll Spinney has been a huge part of children's lives since 1969.

Getty Images | Theo Wargo

You see, when Jim Henson was casting puppeteers to work on his new children's program, Caroll Spinney was one of his first hires.

For 50 years, Spinney wore the big yellow suit of Big Bird and performed the character.

He also portrayed Oscar the Grouch for the same time period.

Though he was forced to pass along the cumbersome costume and difficult puppetry positions a while ago, Spinney kept on providing the voices of Big Bird and Oscar until October 2018.

In a statement, Sesame Street co-founder Joan Ganz Cooney said:

"Caroll Spinney's contributions to Sesame Street are countless. He not only gave us Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, he gave so much of himself as well.

"We at Sesame Workshop mourn his passing and feel an immense gratitude for all he has given to Sesame Street and to children around the world."

In 1990, he famously appeared as Big Bird to perform "Being Green" at the memorial for Jim Henson.

It was a beautiful moment. "Thank you, Kermit" gets me every time.

But perhaps the best way to memorialize what Spinney's time as Big Bird has taught children is through remembering the death of Mr. Hooper.

Instead of sweeping the loss of actor Will Lee aside and pretending Mr. Hooper had moved away, the show took a moment to teach Big Bird, and children everywhere, about what it means to pass on.

Thank you, Big Bird. Thank you, Oscar. And thank you, Caroll Spinney.