Michael "Jim" Delligatti -- the McDonald's franchisee who developed and first sold the Big Mac in 1967 in Uniontown, Pennsylvania -- has passed away at the age of 98, according to a McDonald's spokesperson.
"Jim was a legendary franchisee within McDonald's system who made a lasting impression on our brand," McDonald’s said in a statement reported by The Sun. "We will remember Jim as an insightful franchisee, a knowledgeable businessman, and an honorable gentleman who left a legacy of four generations of family members running great restaurants in Pennsylvania and North Carolina."
Not only did Delligatti create the Big Mac when he saw a potential demand for a bigger, beefier burger on McDonald's menu, he also introduced breakfast in 1970, which eventually led to the invention of the Egg McMuffin by fellow innovator Herb Peterson. O pioneers!
Aside from founder Ray Kroc -- and Ronald McDonald himself -- possibly no other human has been as instrumental in the unprecedented growth of the brand (and fast food's rise to prominence in general) as Delligatti, the original burger innovator.