Jerry Nelson, voice of Sesame Street's Count and countless other Muppets, has died from emphysema at age 78, reports the Los Angeles Times. Nelson first worked with Jim Henson as a puppeteer in 1965, and joined Sesame Street in the show's second season in 1970. Over the years, Nelson brought to life a huge array of Muppets from Sesame Street, The Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock, and other productions, including Count von Count, fish-thrower Lew Zealand, Kermit's young nephew Robin, and Gobo Fraggle.
Nelson retired from puppetry in 2004 because of his health, but continued to record several voices, including the Count. "Jerry Nelson imbued all his characters with the same gentle, sweet whimsy and kindness that were a part of his own personality," said Lisa Henson, CEO of Jim Henson Co., in a statement.