Willard Scott, the former longtime weatherman for NBC’s Today show, has died at the age of 87.
Al Roker, who succeeded Scott on the daily morning show, announced Scott’s death on Instagram Saturday. No cause of death was provided.
“We lost a beloved member of our @todayshow family this morning,” Roker wrote. “Willard Scott passed peacefully at the age of 87 surrounded by family, including his daughters Sally and Mary and his lovely wife, Paris. He was truly my second dad and am where I am today because of his generous spirit. Willard was a man of his times, the ultimate broadcaster. There will never be anyone quite like him.”
Scott’s former co-worker Katie Couric tweeted, “I am heartbroken that the much loved Willard Scott has passed away. He played such an outsized role in my life & was as warm & loving & generous off camera as he was on. Willard, you didn’t make it to the front of the Smucker’s jar, but you changed so many lives for the better.”
NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell said Scott was “a ray of sunshine no matter what the weather or how grim the news. Beloved by fans and colleagues alike.”
Prior to his nearly 35-year tenure on Today — he served as the morning show’s full-time weatherman from 1980 to his semi-retirement in 2006 — Scott held jobs both on the radio and as host of children’s television shows, including playing Bozo the Clown. That experience led Scott to both create and be the first to portray the Ronald McDonald character; Scott played the now-iconic fast food mascot for Washington D.C.-area franchises, Today reports.
In addition to joyfully delivering the weather each weekday, Scott is also known for his daily routine of wishing the nation’s centenarians a happy birthday; even after his retirement as weatherman, Scott continued the tradition on the Today show until December 2015.