John Henson, the son of Muppets creator Jim Henson and a Muppet performer himself, died Friday of a heart attack. He was 48. Henson played the giant ogre Sweetums for decades beginning in 1987, when he took over puppeteering duties for the character from Richard Hunt, according to the Muppet Wiki. He appeared as the character in several commercial Muppets films and television shows and at Walt Disney World. As a child, Henson appeared in short films his father made for PBS’s Sesame Street.
Cheryl Henson, daughter of Jim Henson, donated 21 Muppet puppets and props to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History on Sept. 24, reports USA Today. The latest band of furry Muppets to move to the Smithsonian includes early iterations of longtime Sesame Street fixtures Elmo, Bert, Ernie, Grover, Cookie Monster and Count Von Count. They’ll join up with their buddies Kermit the Frog and Oscar the Grouch, who are already members of the Smithsonian’s Jim Henson Collection. Miss Piggy is also joining the collection.