Legendary weatherman Willard Scott has died at the age of 87.
Scott, who was a mainstay on Today Show in the 1980s, passed away surrounded by his family.
His protégé and close friend Al Roker confirmed the heartbreaking news on Saturday, writing: “We lost a beloved member of our (Today Show) 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,” Roker continued.
“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 was the top weatherman on NBC’s Today Show for 16 long years before he retired in 1996. He was known for his demonstrative personality, eccentric on-air antics, and insistence on wishing his viewers a happy birthday when they reached 100.
He was also the first one to portray the fast-food clown in a TV commercial.
Journalists and his colleagues from Today offered tributes to the legendary weatherman.
Katie Couric shared photos of herself with Scott on Twitter, writing: “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.”
CNN anchor Jim Acosta said: “Willard Scott, the long-time TODAY show weatherman known for his outgoing, jovial personality, and celebrating the lives of viewers who had reached their milestone 100th birthdays has died, according to the show.”
Andrea Mitchell, the chief Washington corresponded for NBC News, wrote: “My longtime friend in the DC bureau, a ray of sunshine no matter what the weather or how grim the news.
“Beloved by fans and colleagues alike: Willard Scott, legendary TODAY weatherman, dies at 87.”
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