Spinney died at his Connecticut home after battling dystonia, a common movement disorder. He was 85 years old.
“Caroll Spinney’s contributions to Sesame Street are countless. He hasn’t only given us Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, he’s also given a lot of himself,” said Joan Ganz Cooney, co-founder of Sesame Street, in the Press release.
“We at Sesame Workshop mourn his passing and feel 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 cheerful (and cranky) personalities viewers around the world adored.
50 years of healthy joy
Spinney announced in October 2018 that he was stepping down from roles.
For many “Sesame” fans, it was the end of an era for a man whose characters helped define their childhood.
Spinney’s five decades of portraying beloved characters have left him in the shadows, even as Big Bird and Oscar rose to fame around the world.
Big Bird visited China with Bob Hope in 1979 and even showed off his enormous dancing skills with the Rockettes and lead dancer Cynthia Gregory.
The beloved 8-foot-2-inch yellow bird was celebrated with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, celebrated in its image on a US postage stamp, and named “Living Legend” in 2000 by the Library of Congress.
Spinney was the focus of a documentary in 2014. “I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story” explored his life and the inspiration behind his creation of the Big Bird character and his decades-long collaboration with Jim Henson.
Remembering Caroll Spinney
Fans flocked to Twitter after his death in mourning and in remembrance of the happiness the puppeteer brought to people.
Spinney died on the same day that “Sesame Street” was honored at the Kennedy Center for his accomplishments in the arts.
CNN’s Lisa Respers France contributed to this report.