Theo Wargo/WireImage
Erin Strecker
August 24, 2012 AT 08:23 PM EDT

It’s a sad day for fans of counting.

Jerry Nelson, the puppeteer who was behind the iconic Count von Count on Sesame Street, passed away Thursday at 78. Nelson portrayed Count von Count from the ’70s until his retirement in 2004. After he retired, he still voiced The Count, he just wasn’t the puppeteer anymore. Over his years on Sesame Street, he also gave life to Mr. Snuffleupagus and Grover’s customer Mr. Johnson, CBC reports.

In addition to his work on Sesame Street, Nelson also performed as Gobo Fraggle on the cult ’80s show Fraggle Rock. The Jim Henson Company has put together a nice YouTube playlist of great Nelson moments on Fraggle Rock.

Besides his television work, he was also involved with productions such as 1979’s The Muppet Movie and 1981’s The Great Muppet Caper.

On Sesame Street’s website, the following message was posted:

The cast and crew of Sesame Street and the staff of Sesame Workshop deeply mourn the loss of cast member and creator of dozens of Muppet characters, Jerry Nelson. A member of the Sesame Street family for more than 40 years, he will forever be in our hearts and remembered for the artistry in his puppetry, his music, and the laughter he brought to children worldwide through his portrayal of Count von Count, Herry Monster, Fat Blue, Sherlock Hemlock, the Amazing Mumford and many other beloved characters. We will miss his extraordinary spirit and the joy he brought to our Street.

Read more:

Blasphemy! Cookie Monster cookie recipe doesn’t contain chocolate chips

‘Sesame Street’ announces lineup of stars for the new season

30 Classic ‘Sesame Street’ Visits

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