Caroll Spinney is leaving Sesame Street.

The puppeteer – who has brought life to Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch for almost 50 years – is to step down from his role. Spinney will film one final episode this week, to mark the show’s upcoming 50th anniversary celebrations, and then he will retire.

*Wipes tears from eyes*

Anyone who grew up on episodes of Sesame Street from 1969 onward, will be more than familiar with Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch – two of the show’s most iconic characters. The characters became so iconic thanks to the performance of Spinney.

In recent years, due to ill-health, Spinney stopped performing as Big Bird, but continued to provide the voice of the character, with Matt Vogel taking over as the performer from 2016 onward. Vogel will continue as Big Bird.

Eric Jacobson will take on the role of Oscar the Grouch. Jacobson has been Spinney’s understudy since 2015.

#EndOfAnEra

If you want to know more about Spinney and his association with Big Bird, Oscar or Sesame Street I highly recommend checking out the 2014 docu-film, I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story.