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Caroll Spinney, the Sesame Street puppeteer behind Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, has died

Spinney passed away at his Connecticut home after battling dystonia, a common movement disorder. He was 85.

Posted: Dec 8, 2019 12:01 PM

(CNN) -- Caroll Spinney, the puppeteer who brought beloved "Sesame Street" characters Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch to life, died on Sunday, according to Sesame Workshop.

Spinney passed away at his Connecticut home after battling dystonia, a common movement disorder. He was 85.

"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," Sesame Street co-founder Joan Ganz Cooney said in the press release.

"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."

The legendary puppeteer was known for his "kind and loving view of the world," giving two of the show's most iconic characters the joyous (and grouchy) personalities that viewers around the world adored.

Spinney announced in October 2018 that he was stepping down from the roles.

For many "Sesame" fans, it was the end of an era for a man whose characters helped to define their childhoods.

Spinney's five decades portraying the beloved characters left him in the shadows, even as Big Bird and Oscar became famous worldwide.

Big Bird visited China with Bob Hope in 1979 and even showed off his massive dancing skills with with the Rockettes and prima ballerina Cynthia Gregory.

The beloved bird, who stands more than eight feet tall has been feted with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, celebrated with his likeness on a US postage stamp, and named a "Living Legend" in 2000 by the Library of Congress.

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