Broadcast icon and The Today Show weatherman Willard Scott has died peacefully at 87.
Known for his comical weather reports, kind heart, and wishing centenarians a happy birthday, he will be greatly missed by fans and colleagues.
Fellow weather forecaster Al Roker took to Instagram on Saturday to share the sad news. "We lost a beloved member of our @todayshow family this morning. 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 I am where I am today because of his generous spirit." The heartfelt post continued, heaping praise on the legendary television personality. "Willard was a man of his times, the ultimate broadcaster. There will never be anyone quite like him."
The memorable reporter — full name Willard Herman Scott Jr. — was born in Alexandria, Virginia, in March of 1934. He got his first news job as a page in 1950 at only 16-years-old.
The aspiring young broadcaster went on to be employed with NBC for an incredible 65 years, more than half of which were spent with The Today Show.
Scott was hired in 1980 to host the weather segment, and though he was not a professional meteorologist — his actual college degree was in philosophy and religion — he brought a zest for life and a winning sense of the humor to the job that made him unforgettable.
The zany weatherman is especially remembered for a certain iconic fast food chain character. Scott was the very first version of the McDonald's clown Ronald McDonald, and brought the colorful mascot to life for several years in the 1960s.
He once spoke about his larger than life personality, saying, "I’m big, overpowering, flamboyant and loud. That’s a turnoff, but some people see a heart to this beast. I might put my foot in my mouth five times out of six, but the sixth time, I strike a chord, and people respond."
In 2015, the The Joy Of Living author announced his well earned retirement from The Today Show, though he still made occasional appearances.