(NEXSTAR) – Willard Scott, the longtime “Today” show weatherman known for offering his birthday wishes to viewers, died on Saturday. He was 87.
News of Scott’s passing was shared by fellow weather forecaster and “Today” successor Al Roker on Instagram.
“We lost a beloved member of our @todayshow family this morning,” Roker wrote on Instagram. “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 joined the “Today” show as a weather forecaster in 1980, and remained in the role through 1996. He continued to appear on the program, however, announcing centenarian birthdays until his retirement in 2015.
Upon his retirement, the plaza outside Rockefeller Center was also renamed Willard Scott Way in his honor.
Scott, born in 1934, first began working for NBC as a page in 1950, Today.com reported. He later became a weatherman for an NBC affiliate in 1970, but not before a successful career as a radio presenter and television host. His credits also include a stint as the very first actor to portray Ronald McDonald in a series of commercials for McDonald’s.
Scott is survived by his wife Paris and his two children, NBC News reports.