On Sunday afternoon, Sesame Street broke the news of Caroll Spinney’s death on Twitter and in an official statement. The actor and puppeteer, who was 85 years old, had joined the program back in 1969 and helped to create and perform the characters Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch from then on to his retirement late last year. Now, Sesame Street fans of all shapes, sizes, and generations are reacting to the show’s sad announcement on social media.
Caroll Spinney, the legendary puppeteer behind beloved Sesame Street characters Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, died today, December 8th 2019, at age 85 at his home in Connecticut, after living with Dystonia for some time. https://t.co/q7FVDul5WT pic.twitter.com/CvWBD0NQyp
— Sesame Street (@sesamestreet) December 8, 2019
Many came from journalists and writers who, whether for numerous profile pieces or their own edification, had had the privilege of meeting and speaking with Spinney.
Spinney also liked to paint pictures of Big Bird. This one was called “In My Dreams I Can Fly.” pic.twitter.com/phsEgYL34B
— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) December 8, 2019
The amazing Caroll Spinney, the puppeteer of both Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, has died. I once had the incredible experience of talking with him—and Oscar—at a party as he switched between voices. "I'm having a rotten time!" Oscar said. ❤️https://t.co/TwA72tS6Dw
— Sarah Larson (@asarahlarson) December 8, 2019
I had the pleasure of speaking with Caroll Spinney on many occasions and was always touched by the interest he took in other people. After telling him a story about my love of Big Bird as a kid, he left me a voicemail—as Big Bird—that I'll never forget. https://t.co/qrKz36LqvE
— Jennifer M. Wood (@j_m_wood) December 8, 2019
Others were written by actors and various Hollywood professionals, like Seinfeld‘s Jason Alexander, Frozen 2‘s Josh Gad, and more.
— jason alexander (@IJasonAlexander) December 8, 2019
For close to three generations Caroll Spinney has taught us kindness, love, respect, joy and friendship. Thank you for your brilliance. May you and Jim Henson find eachother and make the heavens smile. pic.twitter.com/PsxYJMNtdH
— Josh Gad (@joshgad) December 8, 2019
And while a few fans who were able to meet Spinney at various conventions and other gatherings began sharing their photos with the puppeteer…
So heartbroken hearing this. 💔 was hoping he would make it through the final year of this decade…. but alas, not always the case. I’m very happy I had the chance to meet him a year ago pic.twitter.com/SFizTLVbGh
— Alexander Mack (@KrayzAlex92) December 8, 2019
Ah man :(
He was very kind. It was an honor to meet him. pic.twitter.com/kuo1mTflip
— “DGDX” D.M. Galloway (@DGDXAnimation) December 8, 2019
…it was really the massive — and still ongoing — outpouring of love from the man’s massive fan base that stood out among the reactions, condolences, and commendations.
Carroll Spinney's death will hit a lot of us in our secret preserved childhood hearts, but my God, what an amazing success story. So many of us had him around as a comforting presence for our entire lives, as an eternal representation of curiosity, kindness, and cheer. https://t.co/v3DZnNrDoc
— Tasha Robinson (@TashaRobinson) December 8, 2019
If you feel like crying- here’s Caroll Spinney performing “It’s Not Easy Being Green” at Jim Henson’s funeral. pic.twitter.com/qN0Yn3URE7
— Jesse McLaren (@McJesse) December 8, 2019
It would be difficult to overstate how big of an impact he had on all of us. https://t.co/QYSm0SL8BO
— Mike Duncan (@mikeduncan) December 8, 2019
Of course one loves the Bird, but oh that Oscar.
Goodbye to him. https://t.co/WWfHEDgaKo
— Benjamin Dreyer (@BCDreyer) December 8, 2019
Absolutely heartbroken right now.
Please say prayers for his family and friends.
Thank you for everything, Caroll. We love you. https://t.co/6WBecpaiIm
— 🎄Muppet History 🕎 (@HistoryMuppet) December 8, 2019
I'm so devastated to hear that Caroll Spinney died today at the age of 85. He really warmed our hearts by playing Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street for so many years and really lived a very fascinating life. I really am gonna miss him badly. pic.twitter.com/gnvDIomZY3
— Animated Antic (@Animated_Antic) December 8, 2019
Many of us have lost a massive part of our childhoods today as Caroll Spinney has passed away at the age of 85.
Spinney was the original puppeteer and voice for Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch from 1969 until his retirement in 2018.
Our thoughts are with his family and friends. pic.twitter.com/C5o2iaN76f
— Nerdy PoC (@NerdyPoC) December 8, 2019
We lost a real one today ❤️ https://t.co/0GXDaaNffP
— Ashley C. Ford (@iSmashFizzle) December 8, 2019
Rest in peace, wonderful person. https://t.co/ARmm3kFpa9
— Scott Weinberg (@scottEweinberg) December 8, 2019
that the same performer created Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch tells you a little bit about human nature https://t.co/LX8uUvBqgd
— Sam Adams (@SamuelAAdams) December 8, 2019
#RIP Carol Spinney. Thank you so much for Big Bird. Absolute magic.
— DrewMcWeeny (@DrewMcWeeny) December 8, 2019
Spinney died in his Connecticut home early Sunday morning. According to the official release, he had been diagnosed (and living) with Dystonia “for some time.” Whether the neurological disorder had anything to do with his passing, however, has not been made public.