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After nearly 50 years on the show, The puppeteer who has played Big Bird on “Sesame Street” is retiring.

According to multiple reports, Thursday will be Caroll Spinney’s last day on the program, which he joined from the start in 1969.  In addition to Big Bird, the 84-year-old was also Oscar the Grouch.

Allegedly, the departure is due to the fact that the physical requirements of performing the characters had become difficult, and Spinney developed problems with his balance. He stopped doing the puppeteering for Big Bird in 2015 and now only provides the voices for him and Oscar.

His apprentice, Matt Vogel, who also plays Kermit the Frog, will succeed him in the Big Bird role as well.

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